Kakodkar Committee recommends to hike Railway Passengers' fare

New Delhi, Sun, 19 Feb 2012 NI Wire

Indian Railway needs Rs.1,00,000-crore to revamp its deteriorating security system in the next five years, reported a high-level safety review committee led by former chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy Anil Kakodkar which has submitted its report on February 17, 2012.

Viewing the rising numbers of accidents, mainly ramming and derailing has nudged the government to organize a high level of committee to find out the causes and its proper solutions. The committee while submitting its 160 pages report to the Ministry of Indian Railways has suggested that Railway needs Rs.1,00,000-crore in the next five years to reform its security system, which is continuously worsening due to rising numbers of trains.

The Rs 100,000 crore would include Rs 20,000 crore for advanced signalling systems on 19,000 km trunk routes (very busy railway lines), Rs 50,000 crore for elimination of all level crossings, Rs 10,000 crore for manufacturing coaches with better designs and Rs 20,000 crore for maintenance of safety-related infrastructure and other items.

The committee also suggested that a portion of this amount could be collected from imposing the security cess on passengers' ticket from Re.1 to Rs. 100 depending upon the classes and distances.

Describing the present condition of Indian Railways, Kakodkar reported, currently passengers were commuting with their own fate. Unless, Indian Railway immediately not take measures to improve degenerating safety tools, the passengers continued to commute with their own luck.

"Critical spares needed for essential maintenance are not easily available. The supply chain of safety items is far below satisfactory levels in most zones," the Committee reported.

Commenting over the outdated and weakened railway tracks, it suggests, "Stop introducing new trains without commensurate infrastructure, including maintenance of corridors."

"Today, Indian Railways is using most corridors beyond 100 per cent and it is difficult to carry out planned and systematic maintenance on trunk routes (20,000kms of high-density network) as there is no time available due to excess traffic."

For enhancing the fund collection, the Committee has suggested some means including passengers' fare hike, deferment of dividend given as social serving, raising from Rail Land Development Authority, and asking grants from Centre.

Dinesh Trivedi, the Union Railway Minister over commenting upon the recommendations said, the ministry would deeply study the recommendations of committee and would take action according to its own intelligence.

He however, not commented over passengers fare hike, but indicated that Railway Ministry would take initiative in the favour of poor passengers.

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