Infrastructural development and passenger safety are the prime focus of the current railway budget presented for the first time as part of the general budget, a senior Railway official said here on Friday.
"This budget is concentrating on the improvement of infrastructure and most importantly safety. The basic focus of this railway budget is on the railway safety features like signalling and telecommunication system, track renewals, passenger amenities," Eastern Railway General Manager Ghanshyam Singh told the media.
"The budget allocation for Eastern Railways is more than the previous year and has a better allocation of resources. The total allocation in 2017-18 is Rs 6,642.65 crore, as against Rs 5,870.34 crore in the previous year," he said.
Singh pointed out that while the expenditure on railway construction features such as gauge conversion, doubling and rolling stock is reduced and the allocation on certain aspects like computerisation, traffic facilities and yard remodeling have been kept almost the same as previous year, budgetary allocation on safety features like road safety, track renewals etc has significantly increased.
"Allocation in road safety work including road over bridge and road under bridge, has been increased to Rs 139.24 crore from Rs 63.39 crore in the previous year. There is a quantum jump of 119 per cent in this segment.
"Track renewals, another major safety initiative has also seen a growth of 178.14 per cent from Rs 193.53 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 543.85 crore this year, while the allocation for signalling and telecommunication, that plays a major role in safe train operations has been increased by 234 per cent " he said.
He also mentioned the important projects sanctioned this year which includes a 138-km-long new railway track between Sagar Island in West Bengal's South 24 Pargana district to Hoogly district's Dankuni.
"Primary survey has been sanctioned for new lines of 138 km from Sagar to Dankuni. Also railway track between Hoogly district's Kamarpukur to Bishnupur in Bankura district is proposed," he said.
According to him, the Eastern Railways is set to spend around Rs 23 crore in upgrading 30 manned level crossings in the state and Rs 53 crore for building "Bridge No 17/A Jalangi Bridge" near Nadia district's Krishnanagar.
Rs 4.85 crore would be paid out for installing LED illumination in various stations under Howrah subdivision.
Singh said, "while the allocation on the amenities for staff would go down, the expense on passenger amenities would significantly increase from Rs 55.44 crore to Rs 62.23 crore".