Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Railways
24-August-2012 16:37 IST
Safety Must Continue to be the Top Most Priority : Mukul Roy
Time Bound Safety Audit of the Rolling Stock and Track Infrastructure to be Initiatted : Mukul Roy
Two-Day Conference of General Managers of Zonal Railways Begins

The Minister of Railways, Shri Mukul Roy said that safety of railway passengers whose lives are entrusted to us must continue to be the top most priority and there can be no compromise in this regard. The Minister stated this while addressing the two-day conference of General Managers of all Zonal Railways and Production Units which began here today. Shri Mukul Roy announced that a safety audit of the rolling stock would be initiated which should include the Production Units and the Workshops. A multi-functional team of senior officials would be constituted to undertake the audit and submit a report within three months. A similar exercise will also be conducted for ascertaining the health of track infrastructure, he added. The Railway Minister said that accidents on unmanned level crossings still remain an area of concern. He said that apart from a timebound action plan to eliminate unmanned level crossings, all road safety works should be personally monitored by the General Managers and completed on priority. He said that Zonal Railways should also launch vigorous publicity drives to educate the road users for taking precautions while negotiating the level crossings. In view of the security threats in trains and railway premises, all necessary steps including coordination with the State Governments, completion of sanctioned works related to Integrated Security System etc. need to be taken on priority basis, the Minister said.

Stressing upon the need for further improving catering services, the Railway Minister said that Zonal Railways should take necessary steps immediately to arrest the complaints being received on issues like poor quality food, overcharging by catering staff etc. The Zonal Railways have already been instructed to identify the location to set up base kitchens. Referring to cleanliness on the trains, stations and its premises, Shri Mukul Roy said that the policy directives issued by Railway Board for improving cleanliness through various schemes need to be effectively implemented by the Zonal Railways, he added.

Regarding finances of Indian Railways, Shri Mukul Roy said that finances are under strain mainly because of the burden of the Sixth Pay Commission. He said that there is an urgent need to improve earnings and exercise control on expenditure as well as to find innovative ways to increase the earnings through advertisements, commercial utilization of Railway land etc. The issue of land utilization which was held up for quite some time due to restrictions by the Government has now been resolved and it will pave the way for further development of Railway infrastructure, he added. The Railway Minister said that ambitious target for originating freight loading for the current year has been fixed. He said that improvements have to be made to infrastructure and availability of running staff has to be ensured so that the Railways are able to load to the full potential. He called upon Zonal railways to make strategies to improve operations on their systems and pursue their respective targets. Shri Mukul Roy emphasized on taking care of the 14 lakh strong workforce of Indian Railways who are the real backbone of the system.

Addressing the Conference, the Minister of State for Railways Shri K. H. Muniyappa said that the 12th Five Year Plan is going to provide a great opportunity to Indian Railways to meet infrastructure challenges and to become the engine of growth for India. He said that all out efforts of Zonal Railways are required at all levels on Indian Railways to avail the opportunities that are going to come in order to meet the challenges. Shri Muniyappa also emphasized that it is necessary for Railway Board to further delegate appropriate powers wherever necessary to the General Managers for their operational needs. He said that it is also necessary that special emphasis is given to project monitoring and completion of projects as per their targets. To further improve the passenger amenities, Shri Muniyappa emphasized that Indian Railways have to be more sensitive to the needs of the aged and the physically challenged persons who are availing their services. For this purpose, facilities like lifts and escalators, earmarked parking lots, standard ramps etc. should be provided at the stations in a phased manner.

The Minister of State for Railways, Shri Bharatsinh Solanki called upon all the Zonal Railways to take effective steps for intensive cleaning of coaches, On-board Housekeeping Schemes for better up-keep of trains, pest and rodent control on trains etc. He also stressed upon the need for taking measures to ensure that no cases of thefts take place on trains. Shri Solanki also pointed out that steps are required for timely detection of rail fractures to avoid accidents.

In the beginning, Chairman, Railway Board, Shri Vinay Mittal outlined the agenda of the Conference which included the review of safety performance, freight loading and financial performance, punctuality, cleanliness, catering services etc. The Railway Boards Members Smt. Vijaya Kanth (Financial Commissioner), Shri K.K.Srivastava, Member Traffic, Shri A. P. Mishra, Member Engineering, Shri Keshav Chandra, Member Mechanical, Shri A.K.Vohra, Member Staff, Shri Kul Bhushan, Member Electrical were also present at the conference which was attended by General Managers of all the Zonal Railways and Productions Units. The Railway Board Members also addressed the conference on their respective sphere of activities. Representatives of all recognized federations and associations present in the meeting also addressed the Conference.

(Note: Photographs available on PIB website