World Bank grills Railways over safety measures

WB is pushing for new trains to come with in-built automatic sliding doors (ASD).

Mumbai: The World Bank (WB) questioned city railway officials over the preparedness of the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) for the upcoming Mumbai Urban Transport Project III (MUTP III). The WB, which provides Railways loans for all MUTP works has asked the latter how it would incorporate measures to reduce deaths caused by accidents and how travel will be made safer as well as comfortable for the 75 lakh passenger that travel on city local trains daily.

The WB was particularly interested in the 47 new trains that are to be procured under the Rs 11,000-crore MUTP III and has asked how the issue of people falling off the train would be addressed.

A rail official said, “The rolling stock for previous projects had already been procured, so WB is pushing for new trains to come with in-built automatic sliding doors (ASD)”.

It was at the WB’s insistence that the Railways had begun the experiment of CCTV cameras inside ladies’ coach as well as retrofitting ASD at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore per coach.

Even though the ASD experiment had failed a year back, the Western Railway (WR) has re-tendered the project and relaxed norms as the companies applying for the same needed experience of having worked on similar projects with a public undertaking, but now those who do not have experience with private companies are allowed to make a bid. The official added, “WR officials coming down is a regular feature, but it gains importance as the Niti Aayog has sanctioned the amount of the project only two months ago”.

MRVC chief managing director Prabhat Sahai said, “This is a routine meeting that we hold with WB officials. They had come down three months ago as well”.

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