Around 38,000 railway officials have been punished for their involvement in various irregularities and corruption in last five years, railway minister DV Sadananda Gowda informed Lok Sabha on Thursday.
Gowda said during Question Hour that punishments were meted out after conducting probe into 42,000 complaints received by the railway ministry from various parts of the country.
"I do not dispute the fact that there is corruption and irregularities in railways. Of course there is corruption and we are taking all possible steps to check the menace," he said.
Gowda said Rs. 682 crore has been recovered by the railways from various persons who had taken graft of Rs. 882 crore.
He said instances of irregularities involving corrupt practices were reported in the form of complaints or unearthed during the course of regular preventive and decoy checks and investigation by an inter-disciplinary vigilance organisation, which has its offices in the railway board as well as in all zonal railways and production units.
To another question, Gowda said, "To augment revenues from parcel traffic, railways have introduced a scheme for leasing of parcel vans. In addition to this, entire capacity of parcel express trains from specific origin-destination is also leased out to the private operators by inviting bids through open tenders."
He said to increase sundry other earnings, various innovative schemes such as bulk advertising rights, vinyl wrapping of trains, onboard infotainment and online booking of retiring rooms through IRCTC website have been started.
The minister said the vacant land which is not required by railways for its immediate operational need is utilised for commercial development, wherever feasible, to generate revenue from non-tariff measures through Rail Land Development Authority.
"As a result of steps taken in this direction, earnings of Indian Railways, registered a year on year growth of 5.15%, 14.97% and 33.89% during the last three years," he said.