Prime minister concerned over unmanned railway crossings


New Delhi : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday expressed concern over accidents at unmanned level crossings and asked the railway ministry to ensure that signages and road surface at the level crossings were in accordance with norms.

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A press release here said the prime minister, who Wednesday held a detailed review of the railways, also asked the ministry to give special attention to the supply of fertilisers for farmers and to expeditiously move foodgrains for the public distribution system from Punjab and Haryana for consumption in the rest of the country.

He said there should not be slackening in movement of coal to power plants so that sufficient stock can be built up before the monsoon.

Appreciating on-line ticketing as a good initiative, Manmohan Singh, however, mentioned that there were complaints of the system becoming slow at peak times.

The statement said the railways will ensure that the capacity for on-line ticketing is increased by one lakh tickets per day within this summer.

The release said that the prime minister emphasised that creation of railway infrastructure must not slow down.

He said the railways must fast-track the setting up of locomotive factories and other initiatives being taken to attract investment under the public-private partnership framework. This will also send a positive signal about investment climate to potential investors, both at home and abroad, he said.

Manmohan Singh made specific mention of the need to speed up work on the dedicated freight corridor, Jammu and Kashmir railway project and the national railway projects in the northeastern states.

He appreciated the work done by the railways under Mamata Banerjee and said tempo should be further quickened to carry the initiatives forward.

Railway officials assured Manmohan Singh that in view of the summer holiday season, they were paying special attention to punctuality of trains and amenities at stations.

The meeting was also attended by Minister of State for Railways Mukul Roy, and members of the Railway Board K.H. Muniyappa and Bharatsinh Solanki.

The charge of railways is with the prime minister after Mamata Banerjee resigned following her party Trinamool Congress’ victory in the West Bengal assembly elections. Her party colleague Mukul Roy has been given additional charge of the ministry.