<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite completion of five years, the implementation of Kakodkar Committee report on railway safety including the strengthening and widening of foot over and rail over bridges is yet to gather steam. This apart, the railway ministry has to initiate visible action in a meaningful way on the recommendations on safety in particular made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways and scathing report by the Comptroller & Auditor General of India.The Kakodkar Committee in its report submitted in 2012 had classified some bridges situated in Mumbai and rest of country as distressed structures and those in vulnerable conditions. The committee had asked the railway ministry to complete their strengthening in a time bound manner. However, officer at the ministry of railway admitted that the expansion of existing bridges has yet to be completed due to paucity of funds.The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways in its report submitted in December last year observed that expenditure on safety cannot be compromised with at any time and should always be kept on a high priority. “The Committee however, finds that surprisingly the percentage of expenditure on safety has remained rather static, and is around 20%. The Committee wish to remind the railway ministry that a rail accident does not merely involve damage to rail infrastructure alone. There is a huge cost to society as well, society pays dearly through lost lives, lost livelihood, loss of productivity, disability, medical expenses, disruption of traffic, loss of the wagons.” Further, the Committee recommended that not only the railway ministry should optimally utilise the available funds for safety issues but take up the matter of higher allocations for safety at the highest level in the Ministry of Finance.
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