The railways plan massive infrastructure development works for 2018 fiscal, however, at the same time it struggles to bring down fatal accidents
Vishwas Dass | February 1, 2018 | New Delhi
As the government allocates Rs 1.48 lakh crore for the railways for 2018-19, it is expected that this would improve safety and create better infrastructure.
The railways got the Capex of Rs 1.31 lakh crore with the gross budgetary support of Rs 55,000 crore in the last budget.
However, despite the creation Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK), having corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore by the centre in 2017 budget, number of accidents remain a major cause of worry for the railways. Around nine major train accidents happened in 2017 in which 70 people lost their lives.
Though the railways vehemently claims that it has been successful in reducing accidents, the last year’s several mishaps expose the hollowness of the railways’ claim.
According to the railways’ February, 2015 white paper, as much as 40 per cent of 1,219 line sections are utilised beyond 100 percent. It itself shows that traffic on certain sections has increased massively and the railways is slow to expedite doubling of tracks.
The railways need more funds despite the fact that it is able to spend only around 50-55 percent of its planned capital expenditure in the last fiscal.
A former railway official says the only major thing that happened in the last three years is removal of the then chairman of the railway board AK Mital and railway minister Suresh Prabhu after a string of accidents in August, 2017 in which several people were killed.
The railways need around Rs 40,000 crore for elimination of unmanned level crossings (ULCs), construction of road over bridge, road under bridge and low height subways to prevent accidents at level crossings. For track works including maintenance, the railways require Rs 30,032 crore from the government. The said works are needed to be carried out to ensure no major accident takes place.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that 4,267 ULCs to be eliminated by the railways within two years which seems to be an uphill task for the railways. It is still unknown how much funds would be given to the railways for this work.
In order to reduce congestion on its network, the railways commissioned 1,528 km of broad gauge lines in 2009-14, 2,828 km in 2015-16 and 2857 in 2016-17. It has planned to commission 3,500 km of broad gauge lines in the current fiscal.
Besides, to ensure cleaner environment, the national transporter has also planned electrification of 4,000 kms in 2017 FY, the biggest ever electrification target so far.
Infrastructure works like redevelopment of 600 stations, commercial development around stations, high speed and semi-high speed trains, installation of CCTVs in trains, manufacturing German technology LHB coaches and production of train sets and locomotives are some of the other highlights of the 2018 Budget.
An official said that railways need to lay new tracks, strengthen maintenance of old tracks and focus on doubling the tracks to prevent major accidents.
When Dharmendra Pandey, a fruit-seller had to leave Mumbai after the imposition of the lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic, and return to his village in Uttar Pradesh, he was staring at economic uncertainties ahead. Little did he know that his 16-year-old son, Mahavir, had acquired skills that would come
Wearing a face mask is the first line of defence against the novel coronavirus, along with maintaining social distance and frequently washing hands with soap. More than six months after the outbreak of Covid-19, nearly 90 percent of people in India have become aware of the necessity of wearing a face mask,
Is India finally gaining an upper hand over the Covid-19 pandemic? After weeks of new cases hitting 90,000-plus every day, the tide seems to be turning, as the number came down to 75,083 on Tuesday, and the recoveries were not only higher than that but crossed the 1 lakh mark too. The countr
Sit Your Self Down A Novice’s Journey into the Heart of Vipassana By Gayatri Jayaraman Hachette India, 212 pages, Rs 399 As stress and strife increase in daily life, more and more people are turning to meditation as an all
On completion of one year of the chairmanship of the Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB), the Election Commission (EC) of India on Monday hosted an international webinar on the theme of “Issues, Challenges and Protocols for Conducting Elections during COVID-19 : Sharing Country
Sections of the news media have degenerated into becoming the pet performing poodle of the government, says Manish Tewari, former information and broadcasting minister and a member of the Lok Sabha. In a webinar chat with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, on Friday as part of the Vis