Feb 13, 2014

Passenger Friendly Initiatives of Railways

Indian Railways has always strived to improve its customer related services and the continued drive has resulted in their gradual improvement. The success of e-booking of tickets has surpassed all expectations and provided a convenient means to our customers to interface with the Railways from the comfort of their homes and offices. 

The train movements can also be tracked online to find the exact location and running. Besides, 51 Jan-Ahaar outlets for sale of Janta Meals have been set up; 48 passenger escalators have been commissioned at railway stations and 61 more are being installed; air-conditioned EMU services will commence in Mumbai area by July 2014; and Passenger Information Display System in important trains to indicate the next station and expected arrival time is being provided. 

The scheme for upgradation of passengers introduced in the year 2006 is proposed to be extended to second class sitting, AC Chair car and Executive chair car passengers. This will facilitate utilisation of vacant accommodation in the higher classes and optimise demand satisfaction in the lower classes. 


Modernisation and Technology Induction in Railways

Indian Railways have within available resources always endeavoured to usher in new technology for modernisation and enhanced delivery to rail users. Dedicated Freight Corridors for exclusive running of heavy haul freight trains, High Speed Trains Project, and Semi-High Speed project are recent initiatives taken in this direction.

Implementation of the Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors project is making good progress with the award of nearly 1,100 km of civil construction contracts till now. During 2014-15, another 1,000 km of civil construction contracts are targeted, besides award of Systems contracts. 

As agreed between Prime Ministers of India and Japan in May 2013, a joint Feasibility Study for Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed corridor, co-financed by Indian Railways and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has started in December 2013, and will be completed in 18 months. For the same corridor, a Business Development study being undertaken by French Railways (SNCF) will be completed by April 2014. After the studies, Indian Railways will decide on further course of action and modalities for implementation of the project. 

Besides the High Speed project, Indian Railways also intend to explore low cost options for raising speeds to 160-200 kmph on existing select routes like Delhi-Agra and Delhi-Chandigarh. 


INDIAN RAILWAY - Steps Taken to Increase Freight Traffic

A target of loading 1,047 million tonnes during 2013-14 was set for Indian Railways and which will surpass the Budget estimate. 

In order to increase the share of rail borne traffic, an innovative “Empty Flow Discount Scheme” is being formulated and will be implemented shortly. For further increasing throughput on the existing network, carrying additional traffic and bolstering freight earnings, universalisation of all routes on Indian Railways as ‘CC+9+1’ (Carrying Capacity+9 tonne+1 tonne) is being planned. 

Container traffic has witnessed rapid growth in the last few years. For facilitating seamless transport of imported cargo, some of the restrictions on movement of imported commodities through containers have been eased. Further, to increase throughput of container traffic, the permissible carrying capacity of 20 feet containers has been enhanced by 4 tonnes by necessary upgrade of rolling stock. 

There is a vast potential to be tapped in the area of parcel traffic. An aggressive strategy has been evolved for attracting more such traffic to rail. Parcel trains will be run from nominated parcel terminals which have been already notified for achieving the above, and Special Parcel Trains will be run on scheduled timings, so that time-sensitive cargo can be attracted. A new policy on parcels will be formulated which shall also encourage transportation of milk across the country. A new concept of hub and spoke for parcel business will be introduced. Third party warehousing in Special Parcel Terminals is also envisaged. 


Green Initiatives of the Railways

Te role of Indian Railways in preserving the environment has been widely acknowledged. Besides energy efficiency of rail transport, initiatives to promote use of renewable and clean energy have been part of our approach. Railway Energy Management Company has become functional and is working on setting up of windmill plants, solar power plants, with about 40% subsidy from Ministry of New &Renewable Energy. To begin with, 200 railway stations, roof top of 26 buildings and 2,000 level crossing gates would be covered.

Railways bagged 22 out of 112 awards being given away by the Government in 2013 in the area of energy conservation.

With a view to improving aesthetic ambience along the track close to the approach of major stations, creation of ‘Green Curtains’ at Agra and Jaipur stations is being undertaken on pilot basis. This will involve construction of RCC boundary wall of appropriate height along the railway boundary up to a suitable distance, landscaping from the track to the wall and within station circulating area, and arrangements for appropriate watch and ward to check open defecation and littering. Once the pilot projects succeed, Railways intend to invite corporate entities to participate in this programme at other stations through their Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, besides obtaining support of municipalities and local bodies.

Marking a major development towards cleanliness in the coaches and on railway tracks, a bio-toilet design has been adopted by the railways and the technology has been introduced in about 2,500 coaches. It is proposed to increase the coverage progressively.

Rail Tariff Authority Being Set Up

In a path breaking decision, an independent Rail Tariff Authority is being set-up to advise the Government on fixing of fares and freight of Railways. Determination of rates will no longer be an exercise behind veils where the Railways and the users could only peep covertly at what was happening on the other side. 

The Rail Tariff Authority will not only consider the requirements of the Railways but also engage with all stake-holders to usher in a new pricing regime through a transparent process. This would lead to an era of rationalisation of fares and freight structures for improving the fare–freight ratio and gradually bringing down cross subsidization between different segments. It is expected that this would go a long way towards improving the financial health of the Railways, lead to growth to match expectations of the nation and provide stability by minimizing volatility of revenue streams.


Construction of a new broad gauge line between Pirpainti-Jasidih (Mohanpur)

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the construction of a new broad gauge line between Pirpainti-Jasidih (Mohanpur) in Jharkhand. 

The total anticipated cost of Rs.915.96 crore for this project will be funded 50 percent through budgetary support and 50 percent through the Government of Jharkhand. The line will be completed in five years during the 13th Plan period. 

The rail link between Pirpainti and Jasidih is necessary for providing direct connectivity to business centres lying in the backward regions of Jharkhand and Bihar such as Pirpainti, Hansdiha, Godda and Jasidih. The rail link will also serve the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas of Jharkhand. 


Construction of a new rail line between Gadag and Wadi in Karnataka

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the construction of a new rail line between Gadag and Wadi in Karnataka. The total length of the new line will be 252.5 kms. 

The total anticipated cost of Rs.1922.14 crore for this project will be funded 50 percent through budgetary support and 50 percent through the Government of Karnataka. Land will be provided free of cost by the Government of Karnataka and the line will be completed in six years during the 13th Plan period. 

The new rail line would provide a direct shorter route for the people of the area and further to Hyderabad/Secunderabad in Andhra Pradesh. Besides the travelling needs of the people, various cement, steel and power plants in the area would get the necessary rail link for transportation of their raw material and finished products. Gadag, Koppal, Raichur and Gulbarga areas of Karnataka would also be covered by this new rail line.


Construction of a new broad gauge line between Ajmer and Sawai Madhopur via Tonk

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the construction of a new broad gauge line between Ajmer and Sawai Madhopur via Tonk in Rajasthan. The total length of the new line will be 165 kms. 

The total anticipated cost of Rs.873.71 crore for this project will be funded 50 percent through budgetary support and 50 percent through the Government of Rajasthan. Land will be provided free of cost by the Government of Rajasthan. The line will be completed in eight years during the 13th Plan period. 

The new line will cater to the travelling needs of the people of the area and carrying of goods on Ajmer-Sawai Madhopur via Tonk. It will also provide infrastructure support to the backward districts of Ajmer, Tonk and Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan as also an alternate route between Chittaurgarh and Sawai Madhopur on the Delhi - Ahmedabad route.

Source - PIB





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