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C 318 E/110 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 13.11.


Answer given by Mr Barnier on behalf of the Commission

(11 May 2001)

The operational programme (OP) ‘Road axes, Ports, Urban Development’ of the Community support
framework for Greece during the 2000-2006 programming period, which was approved by the
Commission on 19 March 2001 (1), provides for the construction of the following extensions of the
Athens Metro:

 Monastiraki  Egaleo: 4,7 km long with 4 stations;

 Sepolia  Thivon: 2,5 km long with 3 stations;

 National Defense  Stavros: 5,4 km long with 5 stations;

 Dafni  Ilioupolis: 1,1 km long with 1 station.

These extensions are planned to be constructed as public works financed exclusively by public funds.

The OP also provides for the construction of transfer stations with park and ride facilities near some Metro
stations, with the participation of private funds under concession schemes.

The Commission considers that the above mentioned investment plan for the extensions of the Athens
Metro is sound.

(1) C(2001) 534.

(2001/C 318 E/115) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0722/01

by Ria Oomen-Ruijten (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(9 March 2001)

Subject: Possibility of European rules on safety reports for engineering works such as tunnels

These questions arise from the fire in the ski tunnel in Kaprun in Austria.

Does the Commission agree that automatic fire-extinguishers using water or gas are more effective than
dry-chemical devices which require manual operation? Are there any European rules on the fire safety of
trains using tunnels, other than the obligation to carry dry-chemical extinguishers? If so, what rules? If not,
does the Commission not think there is a need to give consideration to this at European level?

What is the Commission’s view of the desirability of European rules on safety reports for tunnels and other
underground engineering works?

If the Commission feels a European approach is necessary, when will it submit a proposal to this effect?

Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(7 May 2001)

The Commission considers that the adoption of European technical recommendations on the safety of
road and rail tunnels would allow the general level of safety in existing and future tunnels to be improved.
It has already launched preparatory activities, which should produce results in 2002.

With regard to rail safety, specifications for high-speed rail infrastructure (including tunnels) and rolling
stock are due to be adopted by the end of 2001. They contain technical requirements applying to all new
projects and all upgrading, including a number of provisions relating to fires and passenger evacuation.
13.11.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 318 E/111

In the spring of 2001, Parliament and the Council should also be adopting a directive on the
interoperability of conventional railways. This directive should provide for the adoption of technical safety
specifications, the first few of which might be ready in 2004.

Since the specific application of automatic systems on trains is inaccessible places such as the engine
compartment, dry powder extinguishers are still, generally speaking, the most effective for areas accessible
to people. Research is also under way to make it possible to install fixed automatic extinguishing systems
in tunnels.

(2001/C 318 E/116) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0730/01

by Claude Moraes (PSE) to the Commission

(7 March 2001)

Subject: Bonded labour in India

Will the Commission enquire as to the status of thousands of bonded labourers in Tamil Nadu state, India,
who were formally identified in April 1997, but still had not been released as of August 2000?

Will the Commission enquire as to the number of people who have been charged and prosecuted under
the 1976 Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, along with the sentences given?

Will the Commission enquire whether the Government of India will, together with an independent body,
undertake a comprehensive national survey to identify the total number of bonded labourers in India, as
recommended by the International Labour Organisation’s Committee of Experts?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(15 May 2001)

In April 1997, 25 008 cases of bonded labourers were formally identified in Tamil Nadu. According to the
government of India, they have all been released and the rehabilitation process is ongoing. By the end of
March 2000, funds available for rehabilitation were released for 18 198 cases and the remainder of the
funds has been released more recently.

Information received by the Ministry of Labour is not sufficient to provide a satisfactory picture of the
implementation of the 1976 Bonded Labour System Abolition Act in Punjab. The Commission Delegation
in New Delhi will undertake further research on this particular case, which will be transmitted in due
course to the Honourable Member.

4 661 prosecutions have been brought in India under the 1976 Bonded Labour System Abolition Act.
Statistics for the state of Uttar Pradesh indicate that 1 031 cases have been acquitted while sentences were
delivered in 84 of the cases.

Finally, a national survey scheme to identify the number of bonded labourers was introduced last year.
Funds are released to the State Governments on a demand basis. Each State has to introduce a demand to
be granted funding. The total amount released as of mid April 2001 is INR 5 000 000 (€ 116 099) to
4 States (of which INR 1 000 000 (€ 23 219,8) for Punjab).

The Honourable Member is also referred to the Commission’s replies to Written Question E-4104/00 by
Mr G. Watson and Written Question E-4114/00 by Mrs G. Kinnock (1).

(1) OJ C 187 E, 3.7.2001, p. 134.