Passengers` safety priority for new railways minister

Safety and security of passengers will be the top-most priority for the new union government, Railways Minister DV Sadanand Gowda said Tuesday.

New Delhi: Safety and security of passengers will be the top-most priority for the new union government, Railways Minister D.V. Sadanand Gowda said Tuesday.

The minister also said the government will give Rs.3 lakh as compensation to the families of the deceased in Monday`s Gorakhpur train accident.

"There was a two-minute silence observed in the cabinet today (Tuesday) for the passengers who lost their lives in the accident near Gorakhpur. Interim relief of Rs.1 lakh will be given by the railways and Rs.2 lakh from the prime minister`s relief fund for the deceased, Rs.50,000 to the seriously injured people and Rs.20,000 to people who have minor injuries," Gowda told reporters after taking charge.
The minister said he will meet the railway chairman and the board of directors with regard to safety measures that need to be taken immediately.

"Safety and security are the priorities, plus new innovations need to be made," he said.

Gowda, however, said he cannot give any new ideas at this juncture. "Because I need to study in depth all the projects," he said.

The Gorakhdham Express, running between Delhi and Gorakhpur, Monday rammed into a stationary goods train, killing at least 25 people and injuring over 100 others.

The minister said that according to official information, 26 people died, 50 were injured and 14-15 people have left hospital after getting initial treatment.
He said his senior cabinet colleagues visited the accident spot Tuesday.

"They got the detailed report and inquiry is going on. I felt very sad that the accident took place a day earlier to my taking oath," Gowda said.

On his plans of innovation in the sector, Gowda said: "In another 10 days, I will have discussions with my officers, boards, chairman and directors and I have to discuss all these matters with our prime minister (Narendra Modi).

"He (Modi) has some noble ideas with regards to the railways. He has already expressed his views during the election campaign."

On the previous government`s plans on tariff hike and whether the present government want to take it forward, Gowda said: "I will have a discussion with my cabinet colleagues and my officers and also Narendra Modi, then only I can comment. Unless I see the pros and cons of these things, I cannot comment."

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