Senior officials of the Indian Railways will now have to camp for two days in a fortnight in areas where safety works are underway to ensure proper execution of such work.

The Railway Board in a letter last month directed that Senior Administrative Grade (SAG) officers in the civil engineering department be nominated and allotted a division each where they will oversee safety-related works which include track renewal, bridge rehabilitation, elimination of unmanned level crossings, raising platforms and other track maintenance work.

“The nominated officers should regularly visit the division to provide necessary guidance in planning and execution of the works… These officers may be directed to camp in their allotted division for one week in the beginning and thereafter should visit the allotted division for at least two days every fortnight till the end of March 2018”, the letter said.

SAG is usually at least joint secretary-level officers, who have completed an average of 23 years in service.

In the next financial year, Indian Railways has set a target of replacing 8,000 km of old and depleted lines at an estimated cost of Rs 10,000 crore and overhauling the entire signalling network to improve safety.

Officials say that this will reduce the number of derailments by 50 per cent in the next two years.