Railways to seek Rs 1 lakh crore for safety upgrade after series of train accidents

New Delhi(PTI): Rattled by a spate of train accidents in which several lives were lost, Railways on Tuesday said “enough is enough” and any “laxity on safety front is not acceptable” as it decided to seek Rs 1 lakh crore funds from the Finance Ministry for safety upgrade.

train accident

On August 5, 2015, 29 people were killed as two express trains derailed within minutes of each other on flooded tracks while crossing a railway bridge in Harda district of Madhya Pradesh. File Photo Picture Courtesy: PIB

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, expressing serious concern over the derailments in the recent past, asked general managers of all zones to “pull up their socks”.

“Negligence and carelessness will not be tolerated. Safety is not negotiable. There should be safety audits at all levels and action taken on the audit reports should be followed up and monitored regularly,” Prabhu is understood to have said here at the GMs meet called specifically to review safety after the series of train mishaps.

Seeking “accountability” in case of safety failure, he also asked the GMs and Railway Board to fix the responsibility at every level. While four persons including two foreign nationals were killed in two accidents last Saturday, there were twin derailments in Madhya Pradesh on August 7 in which 30 passengers died.

Mumbai suburban rail service also witnessed two derailments in two days though there was no casualty.

Addressing the safety meeting, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha took strong exception to the series of mishaps and said “Enough is enough. Now time has come for taking hard decisions.” He asked GMs to make necessary changes, if necessary in safety drill.

“If you want to make any changes in the safety functioning then do it. We are with you for it.” He also asked for filling up safety posts on a priority basis.

Chairman Railway Board (CRB) AK Mital said Railways is finalising a safety plan at an estimated cost of about Rs 1 lakh crore. “We are preparing a comprehensive safety plan which include elimination of all level crossings, strengthening of the track and bridges among others and it would cost about Rs 1 lakh crore,” Mital said.

The Finance Ministry will be approached for the special safety fund to upgrade the safety in rail network, he added.