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Crockery, foot massagers used by train drivers: Congress alleges misuse of railway safety funds

Govt sources dismiss allegations to say these were used in rooms of train drivers who spend long hours on duty

PTI New Delhi Published 10.06.23, 11:04 PM
Jairam Ramesh

Jairam Ramesh File picture

Dismissing the Congress' allegation of misuse of funds meant for railway safety on crockery, furniture and foot massagers, government sources on Saturday said these were used in rooms of train drivers who spend long hours on duty.

According to an official document, the national transporter has spent more than Rs 1 lakh crore on safety measures between 2017-2018 and 2021-22 with a steady growth in expenditure on track renewal.


Citing a 2021 report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), the Congress on Friday claimed the central government "misused" funds meant for railway safety on crockery, car rentals, furniture, laptops and foot massagers.

"This is how funds specifically meant for railway safety were used. This is the CAG's finding," Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said on Twitter, days after a triple train accident in Odisha's Balasore claimed 278 lives and injured nearly 1,000 people.

The government sources said the items mentioned by the Congress were being used in rooms of loco-pilots who run trains.

"They are the most essential and key elements of safety in railways. There are some who spend long hours in trains, sometimes even standing...all day. The foot massagers are for them. These are not a luxury item for them but a necessity which keeps them in good health," one of the sources said.

According to the CAG report, referred to by the Congress, the railways has spent Rs 1.48 crore for the purchase of furniture, utensils, crockery, kitchen/electrical appliances, Rs 0.085 crore on hiring of vehicles, and Rs 4.54 crore on street light, fee to pollution control board, foot massager, winter jackets among other things.

The sources said these were expenditures critical to the well-being of the running staff.

All India Railwaymen's Federation secretary Shiv Gopal Mishra said, "Our station managers and running staff work day and night and it's not fair to politicise things bought for their use like crockery and foot massager. Politics over these things only ruin the image of the railways."

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