Budget 2018: Railways expect more funds for safety

After a spate of accidents in 2017, largely due to poor safety measures, the railways want to introduce modern signaling system and eliminate unmanned crossings

vishwas

Vishwas Dass | January 31, 2018 | Delhi


#budget   #union budget   #Finance Ministry   #Indian Railways   #rail budget   #rail accident   #rail safety  
Piyush Goyal, railway minister
Piyush Goyal, railway minister

Ahead of the union budget 2018-19, Indian railways is hoping to get adequate funds to strengthen safety and introduce modern signaling system for its gigantic rail network of over 65,000 kms. 

 
The government had merged the railway budget with the union budget in 2017 based on the recommendations of the NITI Aayog.
 
Though the 2017-18 budget had approved the railway safety fund known as Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) of a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore, the railways expects that it would get more funds to introduce modern signaling system. The railways would get Rs 20,000 crore every year for a period of five years under RRSK.
 
In the last budget, a gross budgetary support of Rs 55,000 crore was provided by the government to the railways which is likely to increase in the upcoming budget. However, railway officials at the Rail Bhavan on Tuesday remained tightlipped on the development.
 
Another important aspect of ensuring safety is elimination of unmanned level crossings (ULCs) and construction of rail under/over bridges. A huge number of accidents take place at the ULCs. 
 
A report on safety and security in Indian Railways showed, 1,456 persons died at 610 accidents at ULCs in the past 11 years between 2005-06 and 2015-16.
 
The Indian railways is contemplating to eliminate 4,943 ULCs in the next three years. In 2017-18, the railways is supposed to remove 1,500 ULCs, while the same number of crossings would be removed in 2018-19. A total of 1,943 ULCs would be eliminated in 2019-2020.
 
The railways needs a staggering Rs 43,444 crore for elimination of ULCs, construction of road over bridge, road under bridges and low height subways to reduce fatal mishaps. For track works including maintenance, the ministry requires Rs 30,032 crore.
 
Electrification of broad gauge tracks is also the biggest priority of the railway minister Piyush Goyal who wants to reduce the dependence on the conventional fuel for a cleaner environment. 
 
The railways has planned 100 percent electrification of 38,000 kms of tracks by 2022-23. According to a railway official, a total of 4,000 km of tracks would be electrified in 2018-19, 6,000 kms in 2019-20, 7,000 kms in 2020-21, 10,500 kms in 2021-22 and 10,500 kms in 2022-23. 
 

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