A week after HT ran a three-part series highlighting the apalling conditions of train travel, a parliamentary committee has brought to light a startling fact — the Railways spent as little as 1.5 per cent of the total capital expenditure incurred and 1.69 per cent earnings from passenger services to imp-roving passenger amenities in 2005-06.
Confirming HT’s findings, the 83rd report of the Public Accounts Committee has rapped the Railways for failing to set up an institutionalised mechanism for ensuring cleanliness and sanitation in trains and for being unable to provide clean and affordable food to passengers.
The mechanism of outsourcing of passenger services has defects and has not yielded satisfactory results, says the report — tabled in Parliament on Friday.
Headed by Santosh Gangwar, the panel slammed the Railways for according low priority to passenger services. “The wide spectrum of activities concerning passenger amenities are handled by multiple organizations and there is lack of coordination among them, says the report, while suggesting that an independent authority should be set up to deal with cleanliness and sanitation issues.
The committee suggests that a dedicated budget outlay should be earmarked for sanitation and cleanliness on Indian Railways, with a provision for year-wise increment.