Citing a 2021 CAG report, 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.
Quoting the findings of the March 2021 CAG report, he alleged that the Narendra Modi government has been ”misusing” Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) funds on crockery, car rentals, foot massagers, furniture and laptops.
According to an official document, the national transporter 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.
Government sources also indicated that the railways will soon reply to the same Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s (CAG) report cited by Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge to attack the Centre over the recent triple train accident in Odisha’s Balasore that claimed 275 lives and injured more than 1,000 people.
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Kharge, in his letter to the prime minister, had said that all empty safety claims of Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw have been exposed. He further pointed out that the CAG report titled ‘Derailment in Indian Railways’ highlighted that funding for the Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh had been reduced by a massive 79 per cent.
It was claimed during the budget presentation that about Rs 20,000 crore would be available annually, but this was not done, Kharge had said and asked why were the required funds not allocated for track renewal work.
However, data in the document showed that from 2017-18 to 2021-22, the railways spent more than Rs 1 lakh crore on RRSK work. In February 2022, the government extended the validity of RRSK by another five years, starting 2022-23.
Report number 22 of the said CAG report was tabled in Parliament on December 21 last year.