A parliamentary panel today rapped the Indian Railways for not maintaining basic data on its land holdings and exhorted the public transporter to set up land management cells in all zones and divisions.
It suggested that the assistance of the Department of Space could also be taken for satellite mapping and monitoring of vacant lands. In its report tabled in Parliament today, the Public Accounts Committee headed by Congress MP Mallikarjun Kharge expressed anguish that despite its earlier recommendations, the Railways could not set up land management cells in all zones and failed to “protect their own precious lands from encroachments and illegal occupations”.
It said that the Railways’ failure to maintain the requisite land record “snowballed” into a big problem not only for the national transporter but also for other stakeholders as many disputes and court cases stemmed from this lapse. But the Railways has made progress since then and out of 42,187 land plans, 41,467 have been uploaded on its website and 37,720 authenticated.
In a separate report concerning suburban train services, the committee strongly recommended that the Railways provide lifts and escalators at all suburban stations on a priority basis and within a timeframe.
It also asked the Railways to ensure timely completion of works for construction of boundary walls, foot-over-bridges and subways at suburban railway stations. “An apex level monitoring mechanism (should) be created to ensure timely completion of these life saving infrastructure,” the committee said.