Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge has said the Railways has started the process of filling 40,000 of the over 60,000 vacancies in different cadre.
Mr. Kharge told reporters here on Saturday that there was a plan to open a Railway Examination Centre in Gulbarga city to facilitate students from the region to write the test. The Railways was also considering a proposal on introducing one regional language paper in the Railway Recruitment Examination for Group C and Group D posts.
Mr. Kharge admitted that there was a shortage of security staff in the Railways. However, there was no immediate proposal to increase the strength of the Railway Protection Force (RPF). The Railways would discuss with respective State governments to depute more number of police personnel to assist the RPF in providing security to passengers and safeguarding the freight.
To a question, Mr. Kharge said the Railways had taken a serious note of the increasing instances of harassment to women passengers, and added that this would be put down with an iron hand. The Railways had formed a special squad of the RPF to deal with crimes against women on trains.
The Minister announced that from September 22, the Solapur-Yeshwantpur Superfast Express train, which used to run on alternative days, would be a daily service. He said the longstanding demand of the people of north Karnataka for a direct train from Hubli to the Hyderabad Karnataka region would become a reality soon with introduction of a new train from Hubli to Secunderabad passing through Gadag, Bagalkot, Bijapur, Hotgi, Solapur, Gulbarga, Wadi, Chittapur, Sedam, Tandur, Vikarabad and Secunderabad. The new train is likely to be flagged off in October.
New rail hub
To a question, Mr. Kharge said the Yelahanka Railway Station would be developed as a third railway hub in Bangalore city. The two railway hubs in the city — Bangalore City and Yeshwantpur — had reached a saturation point and introducing new trains to Bangalore city had become a major problem due to the non-availability of platforms. Developing the Yelahanka station as the third hub would help overcome the problem, he added.
Inordinate delay on part of the Commissioner of Railway Safety to inspect new railway lines was preventing the Railways from starting services on at least five new routes in the country, he said.
The Commissioner of Railway Safety was attached to the Union Civil Aviation Ministry and the official had to be deputed to inspect the new lines and provide safety certificates.
“I have spoken to Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh to ensure early deputation of the Commissioner of Railway Safety,” Mr. Kharge said.
Five new train services, including those between Bidar and Humanabad, Chikmagalur and Kadur, and Raichur and Gadhwal (in Andhra Pradesh), could not be introduced because of the delay in getting safety certificates from the Commissioner of Railway Safety. These new lines were ready over six months ago, he said.
To a question, Mr. Kharge said Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal had informed him that the Law Department had cleared the proposal sent by the State government for issuing notification empowering the Governor to frame the rules and fix the quantum of reservation in employment and educational opportunities for people of the Hyderabad Karnataka region according to the provisions of the Article 371 (J). The proposal had been sent to the Home Ministry for approval before it is placed before the Cabinet. After getting the Cabinet nod, the proposal would be sent to the President, he added.