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Indian Railways to build boundary walls to prevent cattle being run over

Amid the recent cases of cattle being over run, the Indian Railways has set a target of building 1,000 km of boundary walls over the next six months in the worst-affected areas across its network, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Wednesday.

“We are working seriously on the issue of building boundary walls. We are looking at two different designs. While we have approved one, which is a sturdy wall, over the next five to six months, we plan to build 1,000 km of such walls across sections to determine if the design works,” the Minister said.

According to official data, run over cattle have affected 4,000 trains in 2022 so far.

Mr. Vaishnaw added that conventional boundary walls would not be able to solve the runover cattle problem, but will end up affecting villagers around the area. However, he did not share more information on the design, or the material that would be used to construct the wall.

Recently, the newly launched Mumbai-Ahmedabad Vande Bharat Express train was in the news as the “nose” of the train was damaged following three run-ins with cattle in the first nine days of October.

The Minister also announced a new provision under which supervisory cadre in the Railways will have a chance to reach higher pay grades, equivalent to Group A officers, benefiting employees who were facing stagnation in their jobs. The move will immediately benefit 40,000 supervisor grade employees such as Station Masters, Travelling Ticket Examiners, Traffic Inspectors, among others, whom the Minister described as “field level workers”.

On the career rise opportunities for supervisory Railway staff, the Minister said, “This decision will benefit 40,000 supervisors who will get an average monthly wage increase of ₹2,500 to ₹4,000 per month.”

Mr. Vaishnaw said that there was stagnation in the supervisory cadre of the Railways in Level-7 and the scope for their promotions was negligible.

“There was a long-pending demand for the upgradation of the supervisory cadre since the last 16 years (2006). The only scope of promotion was selection in 3,712 vacancies by giving exam in Group ‘B’. Provision has been made for promotion of 50% people in non-functional grade from Level 8 to Level 9 in four years,” he said.

This will entail ₹10,000 crore increase in the wage bill, but the Minister said that the move will be financially neutral as it will be compensated primarily from the savings that the Railways has made in its diesel bill.

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