NEW DELHI: Railway minister Piyush Goyal today went on to say that various measures will be taken to make sure that the train operations are safe. He talked about the diversion of rails marked for construction of new lines and those stretches prone to accidents and where replacement was due.
Goyal also gave instructions to the officials to accelerate procurement of new rails to complete laying of new tracks and get rid of all unmanned level crossings within a year. However, there was no word on how the railways will manage the huge funds needed for maintenance of assets, track renewal, expansion of network and elimination of unmanned level crossings.
There were also no details shared on filling up vacancies in positions concerning passenger safety. As of January 1, 2017, there were vacancies of around 50,608 posts of trackmen which is adversely affecting track maintenance work.
An official said, “Construction of new lines is a capital expenditure and if rails are diverted from these projects which are funded by loan taken from LIC, then how will railways repay the loan.”
On an average, 4,000-5,000 km of tracks need to be renewed every year to keep the network in a healthy state. The cost of this alone would be around Rs 9,000 crore.