While presenting Railway Budget 2012-13, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi said passenger safety will the primary focus of Indian Railways as it enters the 12th Five Year Plan beginning April 1.
DINESH TRIVEDI'S BUDGET SPEECH:Live Blog
"My focus will be safe safety, safety, safety," Trivedi told the Lok Sabha, adding this was the decision he took as soon as he assumed charge his ministry last year against the backdrop of a rail accident in Uttar Pradesh last year.
"I vow to target zero deaths," he said in his maiden Rail Budget speech. "I also propose to set up an independent railway safety authority, as recommended by an expert group headed by the former Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar."
The Indian Railways run the third largest railroad network in the world spread over some 64,000 route km, with 12,000 passenger and 7,000 freight trains each day from as many as 7,083 stations to ferry 23 million travellers and 2.65 million tonnes of goods daily.
Earlier, upon reaching Parliament, Trivedi said his Budget would keep in my mind the needs of the common man and the country.
"The budget is going to be very good for the country and the common man. I have to make sure that Indian Railways is solid like gold," Trivedi told reporters before leaving Rail Bhavan for Parliament.
"The railways are one of the most important infrastructure. Without the railways growing, India's GDP cannot grow," the minister added.
- inputs from IANS