World Bank help sought to identify areas for Rail Safety fund

NEW DELHI: The Railways Ministry is planning to consult the World Bank to identify areas that require investment from the special rail safety fund announced in the Budget. “We are planning to take the advice of World Bank in identifying areas that require technological advancement for rail safety,” a top Railway Ministry official said, on condition of anonymity. “We will take the World Bank’s help on deciding where and how to spend the money out of the rail safety fund.”

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced setting up a special safety fund named ‘Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh’ with a corpus of more than Rs. 1 lakh crore over a period of five years in Budget 2017-18. The Railways is exploring advanced ways to automate track inspection and track surveillance. “We are discussing the possibility of using rail robots to detect fractures in railway tracks,” the official added.

The Minister in his Budget speech had said that the government would lay down clear-cut guidelines and timelines for implementing various safety-related works to be financed from the rail safety fund. The Finance Ministry will contribute 75% towards the fund and the remaining amount will be generated by the Railways from its own resources.

The Railway Ministry had asked the Finance Ministry to set up the fund last year and proposed spending one-third of the special fund towards eliminating unmanned level crossings. Other areas included: track works, bridge rehabilitation works and track vehicular ultrasonic testing system, among others.