New Delhi: The Indian Railways has recorded its safest-ever performance in the first six months of this financial year with zero passenger fatalities but the national transporter is also facing a financial crisis due to implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations, Railway Board Chairman V.K. Yadav said on Monday.
Speaking to media persons here, the Chairman said, “With our focus on the safety of passengers, the railways took a number of works including the up-gradation of railway tracks and its coaches and it resulted in zero passenger fatalities in this financial year from April 2019 to November 2019.”
He also said that as part of the mega plan on the safety of the passengers, the railways eliminated unmanned railway crossings at 904 places between April 2019 to November 2019, which is 200 percent more as compared to 296 during the same period last year.
He also said that it renewed over 3560 km of the tracks across the country between this period and also rehabilitated over 861 bridges. “These steps also ensured in improving the punctuality of the trains as mail or express trains punctuality rate between April 2019 to November 2019 was at 76.67 percent as compared to 68 percent last year during the same period,” he said.
On the financial condition of the national transporter, Yadav said: “No doubt that the railways are facing financial challenges. And to come across the financial crisis, the railways are doing a lot of things.”
He stressed that the railways faced the financial issues due to the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations, as it has around 12 lakh employees and 13 lakh pensioners”. “But things will start improving in the next few months,” he asserted.
The Indian Railways recorded an operating ratio of 98.44 percent in 2017-18, the worst in the last 10 years, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said in its report tabled in Parliament on December 2 this year.
According to railway officials, the operating ratio is a measure of expenditure against revenue and it shows how efficiently the national transporter is operating and how healthy its finances are. (IANS)