RRSK funds to be utilised strictly for safety-related expenditures

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RRSK funds to be utilised strictly for safety-related expenditures

On Sunday, Indian Railways said funds from the Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh RRSK are utilised strictly for safety-related expenditures. The Railways added that based on recommendations from the Safety Committee, it provided facilities and amenities like body massagers, foot massagers, air conditioning, etc. for Loco pilots in running rooms.

The National carrier said it was done to provide loco pilots proper body rest and relieving stress while performing their duties. The Loco pilots also said they keep standing for hours on end. The Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh RRSK is a special fund created by the centre in 2017 to ramp up railway safety. There is no option to divert money from one head to another in the railways, he said.

The clarification came after Congress leader Jairam Ramesh cited a 2021 Comptroller and Auditor General of India CAG and accused the Railways of misusing these funds for purposes other than rail safety. For these purposes, the government purchased crockery, electrical appliances, foot massagers, furniture, winter jackets, escalators, computers, paying salaries and bonuses, developing gardens, building toilets and erecting a flag.

The CAG report resurfaced days after the triple train crash near the Balasore station of Bahanaga Bazar that claimed the lives of 288 people and left over 1,100 others injured.

Besides priority safety projects such as civil engineering works, signalling, mechanical and electrical work, there is a clear provision for expenditure on reducing chances of human error in critical areas of operations by improving working conditions and training of safety-critical staff like loco pilots, etc. At least 1,861 acres of land have been provided for human resource development, the statement said.

It also said that these facilities have been provided fully in keeping with the recommendations of the 2013 CAMTech report, which was accepted in 2014. This was before the RRSK fund came into existence, according to the Railways.

Crockery, foot massager, winter jackets, etc. It was widely accepted in March 2014, and it was much before RRSK came into existence in 2017 - 18, it said. This expenditure is based on the set guidelines related to the upgradation of running rooms and training staff.

This expenditure is directly related to the safety of the train running, he said. The minister said that they are not fripperies and are part of the mandate.