New Delhi: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report submitted in Parliament on Tuesday said the suburban train services which carry around 72% of the total traffic of railways are witnessing a decline in passenger traffic.

During 2014-15 the number of passenger carried by suburban trains was 1% less than the previous year. With suburban trains carrying 22.25 billion passengers during the five-year review period of 2010-15 this 1% translates into 44.5 million passengers.

The decline comes despite an increase in the frequency of trains in the seven railway zones, says the apex auditor adding that there was no reduction in operational losses of any zonal railways during the period.

The auditor also presented a glaring picture of safety on suburban trains as during the period from January 2010 to December 2014 the suburban trains sections reported 33,445 deaths. Out of this, 59% (19,868) occurred due to line crossing/trespassing and 15% (4,885) due to falls from running trains.

The CAG report states that though there was increase in suburban train services, the number of passengers carried per rake was much higher than the carrying capacity. This indicates that number of services is not sufficient to cater the needs of heavy passenger traffic.

“In most of the rakes the number of passenger exceeds the crush load which itself is double the seating capacity," said deputy CAG Nand Kishore who prepared the report on Suburban Train Services in Indian Railways.

He told reporters the report focuses on the performance of Indian Railways’ operational efficiency in providing adequate suburban train services including the efficiency in ensuring optimum utilization of rolling stock and provision of requisite infrastructure.

There were 743 works in progress as of March 2015 in five zones of railways and audit of 204 of these worked during 2010-15 shows time overrun ranging between one month and 69 months in respect of 106 works and cost overrun of 56.21 crore in respect of 51 works such as Traffic facility works, road safety works-level crossing.

“We saw a variety of reasons i.e. weak condition of track, points and crossing, encroachment along the Railway tracks, vulnerable bridges and others (signalling , level crossing etc.) resulting in imposition of speed restrictions which continued for years indicating ineffective remedial measures to speed up suburuban train services," Kishore said.

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