Safety, Security, Punctuality & Cleanliness Is Our Top Priority

New Delhi, February 26: | Updated: Feb 27 2003, 05:30am hrs
The Railway budget intends to provide maximum passenger satisfaction and improve work culture without increasing the fares and freight rates, says Railway Board chairman IIMS Rana.

Mr Rana, along with other Board members, was addressing the press here on Wednesday. The Railways can achieve this with the help of innovative ideas, Mr Rana said, adding safety and security, punctuality, passenger comfort and cleanliness are some of the important concerns of the Railways.

The Railways is in the process of inducting anti-collision devices, Mr Rana said, adding continuous track circuiting is being executed within station limits at a cost of Rs 425 crore. Underwater inspection and computerised non-destructive testing of bridges will also be introduced. Besides, there is more emphasis on training the staff for better safety.

The Board also denied the view that increasing number of rail accidents is due to declining revenues from passenger fares. On the contrary, member (traffic) MC Shrivastava said, passenger earnings during 2002-03 were 12-13 per cent more than the figure in the previous fiscal.

Commenting on the Rs 720-crore shortfall in the budgetary target for the current fiscal, Mr Shrivastava said it is because of increase in tariff for short distance commuters.

The Railways takes strict action against the employees who compromise safety and security, he said, adding as many as 659 employees have been sacked since 1998.

Railway minister Nitish Kumars announcement of filling up more than 20,000 Group D vacancies also intends to increase rail safety, as the recruitment will be mainly for gangmen, Mr Rana pointed out.

He asserted that the government has taken important reform measures. The incorporation of Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) is the most important reform step. The Registrar of Companies has already given approval to the commercial operations of RVNL. This will expedite the completion of projects, as RVNL will not have to go for various clearances for projects worth or below Rs 200 crore, Mr Rana said.

Another reformist measure is that on the accounts front. Now, the Railways will maintain records as to which activity costs how much. The emphasis will be on profit centres, he added.