Private players could help secure unmanned railway level crossings
This will open one more segment in the railways to private sector. The railways has already drafted policies regarding public private participation in laying of new railway lines, port connectivity, operating freight terminals, running of special freight trains and setting up auto hubs.
The aim is to reduce the number of accidents at railway crossings and fix the responsibility of ensuring that on private sector firms. On an average, nearly 70% of accident deaths recorded by the railways take place at unmanned railway crossings. In terms of accidents also, the number is far higher for unmanned crossings than the manned crossings. In five years to April 2009, 370 accidents took place at railway crossings and 329 of these were at unmanned crossings.
There are 17,000 unmanned level crossings in the railways and the ministry wants to guard all of them by March 2015. The plan is to guard 1,000 such crossings this year alone. This is an ambitious target considering the track record of railways. In the last 10 years, railways could man only 3,000 level crossings. The ministry had created plans for manning nearly 3,000 level crossings in 2009-10 but the same could not be implemented.
“We are seriously looking at the option of engaging private sector companies in
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