Rlys should increase the passenger amenities and safety fund

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New Delhi, Oct 21 (UNI) The Railway Convention Committee of Parliament has pointed out that provisions for Development fund have been reduced from Rs 2359 crores in 2007-08 to Rs 947 crores in 2008-09.

The committee, in its report, has recommended that the railways should raise it appropriately as it covers the important areas like passenger amenities and safety works.

The report observed that the Special Railway Safety Fund was created in 2001 wherein a provision of Rs 17,000 crore was made. The fund was created to replace the old tracks and renovation of signalling equipment and 97 to 98 per cent of the work completed.

This special fund ceased to exist with effect from April one this year. The comittee found that a provision of Rs 776.46 crore has been made under the Railways Safety Fund during the year 2008-09.

Considering the vast network of the Railways across the country particularly in the context of existence of several old bridges over 18,000 unmanned railway crossings, the committee was not very sure that the allocated funds are adequate to raise the safety standards of Indian Railways at par with international standards.

Accordingly, the committee has asked the Railways to review this vital aspect while ensuring requisite funds for safety.

The committee also recommended that the existing principle governing interest on various Railway Fund balances placed in the Public Accounts of India may be allowed to continue during the year 2008-09 also. The Committee agreed that the balances in the Railway Safety Fund may be treated as interest free since this fund has been constituted with the contribution from the Central Revenue only.

UNI KAS NK AS1535

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