The railways, which have suffered losses of about ₹80 crore due to damage to its property during protests against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act, plan to recover the amount from those involved in these incidents, the top railway official said on Monday.
“Railway property suffered damage worth ₹80 crore across the country. Of this, the Eastern Railway suffered damage worth ₹70 crore and the Northeast Frontier Railway of about ₹10 crore. These, however, are initial estimates and the figure could go up,” Railway Board Chairman V.K. Yadav said.
Mr. Yadav’s comments come after the December 20 statement made by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath that “revenge” would be taken against those elements that had indulged in the destruction of property.
Already, Muslims as a community in Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh have handed over a cheque of ₹6 lakh following the police decision to impose “fines” for property allegedly destroyed by protesters.
Several videos have also surfaced of policemen barging into people’s homes and beating them up in western U.P., as also using lathis to smash vehicles parked on the road by policemen in uniform.
On his part, Mr. Yadav said that money for damage would be recovered from those found involved in arson and violence. However, he did not share more details while stating that law and order is a State subject and they are working on it. Railway property such as panels, signalling units and ticket counters were damaged in the protests.
Waitlist may end
The Chairman also announced that in the next four-five years all rail passengers will get confirmed tickets for their travel between Delhi and Mumbai as well as Delhi and Kolkata. “Passengers could expect to be free of waiting list within the next five years on the two busiest routes of Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah, where dedicated freight corridor (DFC) construction is under way and is expected to be completed by 2021,” Mr. Yadav said.
He explained that once the DFC is completed, the existing routes will be completely free of goods traffic, as a result of which passenger trains can be run on demand. “The work to upgrade (train speed) on the route to 160 kmph has already been sanctioned and will be done in the next four years,” he added.
Talking about railways’ earnings, Mr. Yadav said, “Indian Railways have an economic challenge before it... every organisation faces it. The benefit of this is that we try to make ourselves more efficient and not be complacent.”
The earnings in the last financial year stood at ₹1,90,000 crore, while the projection for this year stands at ₹2,16,000 crore. “We will be close to our target. I don’t see any problem in that. The last three months are traditionally good as far as earning of revenue is concerned.”