While “safety (of passengers) is accorded the highest priority by Indian Railways”, real data does not support that claim. According to railway minister Suresh Prabhu, more than 2.2 lakh posts, including those relating to safety and such categories, are lying vacant.
The minister, while answering questions in Parliament on Monday, mentioned that the railways has increased budget allocation on safety related activities over the years. In 2014-15 the allocation was hiked by 11.7% to R43,443 crore from R38,908 crore the year before.
The railways has filled some 5,000-odd posts since April 1, 2014, out of 2.25 lakh vacancies at that time.
While the northern zone leads the vacancy list with 22,227 posts vacant, the central, eastern, western and east central zones have nearly 20,000 vacancies each.
Prabhu told the Lok Sabha that the railways has installed 7,274 CCTV cameras at 311 stations till date, as safety measures and to augment the railway police forces (GRP and RPF).