Kakodkar panel recommends safety cess on rail passengers

Kakodkar panel recommends safety cess on rail passengers

 Highlighting railways' poor health, a high-level safety review committee today suggested far reaching changes in its infrastructure, seeking Rs one lakh crore investment which included mopping up Rs 5000 crore as safety cess from passengers, and no new trains.

The committee headed by former Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar suggested setting up of a railway safety authority as an independent body and bringing Commissioner Railway Safety, presently under Civil Aviation Ministry, under its ambit.

Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi who received the report appeared unwilling to impose any additional burden on the passengers in the form of safety cess.

"These are all suggestions by the committee. We have not decided yet," he said indicating there are several other ways to generate revenue to implement safety committee report.

He said much depends on the support of the Finance Ministry as railways is understood to have sought enhanced budgetary support in the coming Rail Budget.
The national transporters was provided a budgetary support of Rs 20,000 cr in the last Rail Budget.

"We have to see whether Finance Ministry will give us the money or we will raise it of our own," he said.

The committee among its 101 recommendations suggested advance signalling system including in-cab signalling and elimination of all level crossings across the country.
Proposing a revenue model to implement its suggestions, it has sought Rs 5000 crore as safety cess on passengers annually for the next five years and a matching grant from Centre, deferrment of dividend of Rs 5000 crore due, road cess of Rs 1000 corer, and an income of Rs 4000 crore from Rail Land Development Authority earnings.

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