Railways minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said in the last 22 months, there has been no passenger death due to train accidents as the last passenger death took place on March 22, 2019. The minister said this in the Rajya Sabha in a reply to Trinamul MP Dinesh Trivedi’s question on railways safety.
“Safety became a casualty of inadequate budget and misdirection of budget allocation. In the last six years, we have focussed more and more amount to safety. The last passenger death due to train accidents took place on March 22, 2019,” the minister said.
As members in the Rajya Sabha created an uproar claiming that train services have been curtailed owing to the pandemic, the minister said, “Some member don’t remember that the trains were running before March in 2020 and then services were resumed from April and are now 70% of their pre-pandemic services. But some members in the House have a short memory.”
On being asked whether the ministry is thinking of deploying modern equipment to increase overall safety and especially the bridges, the minister said, “There are 34,665 bridged in India which are over 100 years old. But the ministry has a robust inspection system — before the monsoon season and after.”
On a question whether the railways is taking the help of drones to monitor these bridges, the minister said, “Drones will not be the right approach to monitor bridge condition. It should rather involve sensors, checking the tensile pressure etc. But I welcome the member’s suggestion,” Goyal said adding that for the first time Railway Board now has a post of director-general for safety.