The Indian Railways is all set to hire nearly 2,00,000 workers in the next few years to strengthen its safety measures in the wake of recent accidents. This step will take the total number of employees working for the Indian Railways from 13 lakh to 15 lakh, which is a huge jump of almost 15%.
Indian Railways which is the world’s fourth-largest rail network ferries millions of passengers every day. But it doesn’t have a good safety record. In the last three years alone, at least 650 people have died in train accidents.
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“The national transporter will invest Rs 15,000 crore in the current fiscal to fix the snags on its network. This amount is separate from the money spent on modernisation. This will purely be spent on track renewal,” a top rail official said.
Most of the hiring by the railways will be for various posts in the safety and maintenance category who will patrol and fix the tracks. The hired employees would be trained as per international standards. Also, Indian Railways is planning to procure over 100 track inspection vehicles.
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As of December 2016, Indian Railways has a staff strength of more than 1.3 million and about 2,25,823 vacancies in Group ‘C’ and ‘D’ categories. In addition to this, it also has 1,22,911 vacancies in safety categories and a shortage of about 17,464 people in the loco running staff.
According to a railways official, the bulk of the accidents that take place every year is mostly at unmanned level crossings, and Indian Railways currently has over 6,000 such crossings across the country. So by the year 2020, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and his ministry intend to do away with unmanned railway crossings.