Prabhu advocates removal of unmanned level crossings

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New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) Most rail accidents take place around unmanned level-crossings, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday calling for the removal of such crossings as a national priority.

“To remove unmanned level crossings should become national priority because most accidents happen there,” Prabhu told the members during Question Hour.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has issued directions urging the railway authorities to remove all unmanned level crossings in the next three years.

Answering supplementary questions from members, including Raju Shetti (Swabhimani Paksha), the railway minister said: “I am not saying we will achieve that in three years and all unmanned level crossings will be removed, but at least the works for sanctioned projects have started.”

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He, however, said that certain key decisions have been taken by the present government to ensure speedy works as earlier the very process of getting works sanctions for removal of unmanned level crossings used to take two years.

Referring to an agreement between the Railways and the Road Transport and Highways ministry, he said NHAI will now construct such over-bridges and under-bridges on national highways at their own cost on single-entity basis.

Prabhu said Railways have sanctioned construction of 1,592 over- and under-bridges, of which 213 have been completed and commissioned.

To meet the requirement of funds for safety-related works, he said action has been initiated for creation of a graded Rashtriya Rail Sanrakshan Kosh for which the Railways is in talks with the Finance Ministry.

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