Indian Railways claims that in the past four years, safety has been the top priority for the national transporter. With several measures undertaken by the Ministry, the safety levels across all zonal networks has improved substantially
Indian Railways records safest year till date! Union Finance and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal announced in his Budget 2019 speech that Indian Railways recorded its safest year. Indian Railways claims that in the past four years, safety has been the top priority for the national transporter. As a result, with several measures undertaken by the Ministry, the safety and precaution levels across all zonal networks has improved substantially, Indian Railways says. Here’s a list of 10 key things that have been done to achieve this safety feat:
1. Improved budget allocation:
The Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) fund of Rs 1 lakh crore has been set up for safety expenditure over a period of five years. The investments have been scaled up by almost three times to Rs 1,58,658 crore in 2019-20 as against Rs 53,989 crore in 2013-14. The expenditure on safety increased from Rs 30,661 crore in 2009-10 to Rs 74,696 crore in 2019-20.
2. Elimination of unmanned level crossings:
Unmanned Level Crossings have been completely eliminated from broad gauge network. Around 1,703 level crossing were eliminated in one month, i.e., in September 2018, which is higher than any other year.
3. Increased production and usage of LHB coaches:
Indian Railways has made a total switch to the production and manufacture of safer LHB coaches instead of conventional ICF coaches from April 1, 2018. LHB design coaches have sturdier designs with extra safety features. The increase in production of LHB has been 1,469 coaches in 2016-17 to 2,385 coaches in 2017-18 and target set for 2018-19 is of 4,410 coaches.
4. Faster execution of track renewals:
There has been speedy execution of rail renewal in track with 50% increase in rail renewal, from 2,926 kms in 2013-14 to 4,405 kms in 2017-18. In the month of October alone, last year, 2,583 km tracks were renewed. The budget outlay on track renewal works has been increased to Rs 10,112 crore in 2018-2019 and Rs 10,120 crore in 2019-2020
5. Highest ever construction of subways and ROBs/RUBs:
Highest ever construction of road over bridge (ROB), road under bridge (RUB) and subways has been recorded with three times increase in the average construction per year. Specifically, 415 bridges and subways were constructed per year from 2004-2014, which increased to 1,220 per year in 2014-2018.
6. Faster commissioning of railway lines:
Faster Commissioning of railways lines has been recorded with 59% increase in the average pace of commissioning of new line/doubling/3rd & 4th line project from 4.1 km in the period of 2009-14 to 6.53 kms per day in 2014-18.
7. More number of FOBs:
Foot over bridges (FOBs), high level platforms, escalators, lifts, entry/exit points at stations have been treated as safety items. There has been 221% increase in the construction of FOBs, with 23 in 2009-2014 and 74 in 2014-2018.
8. New state of the art machine sanctioned:
Five new state of the art track maintenance machines have been introduced, including three dynamic track tamping machines and others. The fleet strength of these machines will be increased in the next three years. In 2018-2019, 538 machines costing more than Rs 7,000 crore were sanctioned.
9. Railway work under MGNREGAs:
The Ministry of Railways in consultation with the Ministry of Rural Development, has identified categories of railway works under MGNREGAs (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act). Zonal Railways has identified 1,210 projects costing Rs 431 crore. So far 69 projects have been sanctioned by state authorities.
10. Audit of railway bridges:
3,758 number of railway bridges have been strengthened and rebuilt on the Indian Railways network between 2013-18. Additionally, third party audits on railway bridges will be carried out, which includes NDT testing, underwater inspection, design adequacy for present loading, earthquake force. Hence, 4,835 bridges will be inspected by third party agencies.
Indian Railways claims that as a result of all these measures and improvements, there has been a 38% reduction in consequential train accidents, dropping from 118 in 2013-14 to 73 in 2017-18. In 2018-19 till January, it was 47. There has been a drop in fatalities and injuries recorded as well. The count would go up however, after the recent Seemanchal Express accident in which several coaches of the train derailed.