Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge lists out measures taken to ensure safety of passengers during presentation of interim rail budget

Union Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, while presenting the interim rail budget, said several measures are being taken to further strengthen safety of passengers. These include manning or elimination of unmanned crossings, induction of indigenously-developed train collision avoidance system and provision of Vigilance Control Device to monitor and judge alertness of drivers.

Referring to recent fire accidents on trains, Mr.Kharge said a comprehensive fire and smoke detection system is on trial on Rajdhani Express and based on its success, this would be extended to all major passenger trains. Other measures include use of fire retardant material inside coaches, multi-tier protection for electric circuits, provision of portable fire extinguishers in AC coaches and introduction of electrical induction based cooking appliances to replace LPG in pantries.

With regard to new trains and extension of tracks, he said train services are expected to start very shortly to Katra, the foothills of famous Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu, enabling pilgrims for all over the country to reach there directly. The proposals also focus on extension of rail connectivity in Northeast. This includes bringing Arunachal Pradesh on the rail map in this financial year, with the commissioning of a new line shortly to Harmuti-Naharlagun close Itanagar. Meghalaya is also set to come on the rail map this financial year as the Dudhnoi-Mehendipathar line would be completed by next month, the Minister said. Mr.Kharge also said the coverage of the bio-toilet project, already introduced in about 2,500 coaches, would be expanded progressively.

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