In a bid to enhance safety across the Indian Railways network, the national transporter has carried out renewal of record 4,405 km of old tracks in the financial year 2017-18. As per an official statement, the renewal of tracks has been the highest ever progress, which exceeds the target of 4,389 km (revised to 4,400 km) for the year. The report stated the fact that the previous best was 4,175 km of track renewal in financial year 2004-05 due to the deployment of the special rail safety fund. The special rail safety fund was set up during former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime.
During last month, according to railways data, railway track renewal of 642 km was carried out, so far, which is the best ever progress in any month, the report claimed. The previous best were track renewal of 576 km in the month of January, this year and track renewal of 523 km in the month of March in year 2005. The total track length of the national transporter is at 1,14,907 km and out of this, on an average 4,500 km of track should be renewed per year, the report stated.
In the last several years, the development in the track renewals was constantly coming down because of the financial constraints, which led to huge backlog of around 5,000 km renewal of tracks. This also resulted in multiple railway accidents due to derailments, the report said.
According to Indian Railways, safety in train operations was given the top most priority by the government, due to which the number of derailment cases came down from 76 during April, 2016 to February, 2017 to 53 during April, 2017 and February, 2018. Moreover, in order to increase safety in train operations and for track renewal, the government in Union Budget 2018 announced that a Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh of Rs 1 Lakh crore will be spent over a period of five years.
Recently, Indian Railways created a new record. For the very first time in 35 years, Indian Railways witnessed less than 100 accidents. Till March 30, 73 railway accidents were reported, which is 29 per cent reduction from the 104 accidents that were recorded in financial year 2016-2017. The number of railway accidents across the nation fell to triple digit figures of 908, only in the year 1968-1969. Before that, over 1000 railway accidents were reported every year.