The Indian Railways’ record Rs 20,000 crore profit in 2006-07 has made Lalu Prasad International management guru. The turnaround story of Indian Railway has become a big hit in the business institutions across the world.
But, if we talk about railway bridges and the passengers’ safety, the reality is something different in Indian railways till now. The report says that at least 40 percent of the railway bridges in the country are more than 100 years old.
According to a report tabled in Rajya Sabha, there are at least 127,000 railway bridges are in working condition in the country. And, about 51,000 of those railways bridges are more than 100 years old.
At the same time, Minister of State for Railways R. Velu said, while tabling the report in Rajya Sabha, that the life of a bridge depends on its physical condition not on its age. He said that the Railways have a well laid down multi-tier inspection system for the regular inspection of the physical condition of the bridges.
The century-old bridges, that are showing signs of deterioration of physical condition, need proper repairing. These bridges are called as distressed bridges. But, according to railways vocabulary, these bridges cannot be called as unsafe or dilapidated bridges, these are distressed bridges.
The minister told the house that in the financial year 2001-02, the railways identified 2,370 bridges as distressed and had granted Rs.15,300 million under Special Railway Safety Fund (SRSF) for renovating work on those bridges. Further, from 2001-02 to 2006-07, railways had spent Rs.8,758.4 million under the SRSF to repair as many as 2,087 bridges.