Stepping up INVESTMENT
In the last few years, railways has been allocated a capex of almost Rs 3.5 lakh crore so as to modernize and bring about a complete overhaul in the entire railway system. Railways has been witnessing major reforms including organizational restructuring,
While inaugurating the ASSOCHAM International Conference- RAILTECH2017, on July 21,2017,Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister for Railways, informed that the premiere think-tank of the Government of India, NITI Aayog has approved investments worth Rs 18,000 crore for high-speed rail projects for major routes of Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata. "We are working on Gatiman Express which is India's fastest train at 180 km per hour and trying for Mumbai-Delhi and Delhi-Kolkata which are major routes with a speed of maximum 200 km per hour (kmph)," said Mr. Prabhu.
Considering that capital expenditure needed for optimal technology has gone from Rs 30,000crore a year to almost Rs 2,75,000 crore in the last two and a half years reflects upon the commitment and seriousness of the Government to deliver what it promises.
The average speed is reckoned as one of the key indicators of all the railway
productivity and efficiency in operations and utilization of assets and so the railways is considering to increase the average speed of trains very seriously. Under Mission Raftar, measures are being taken to raise average speed of both passenger carrying trains and freight carrying trains. Railways Ministry is working with many countries to increase the speed of operations, including France.
"Thereare a lot of studies which are going on and they are in a very advanced stage, so we will start implementing that in the next few months' time," said Mr. Prabhu.
He added that the Government is working towards introducing cutting-edge technology of future in all aspects of railways with it not only being imported but being codeveloped in India.
The ministry is building up a policy to connect India's biggest cities and largest towns in a phased manner. The ministry is in talks with companies like Hyperloop, which can take the speed of railways to more than 600kmph.
Talking about the use of high-end technology on safety front, he said that self-propelled detection of tracks together with use of ultrasonic machines and geo-spatial technology to alert about unmanned railway crossings are underway.
On laying of railway tracks, he said that automatic track laying machines which are already being used on Dedicated Freight Corridor will now be tried all over the country.
"This has already resulted in increasing the speed of putting the track which was only three kilometres per day to almost eight kilometres per day and the target is to take it to 20kilometres per day in the next three years and definitely we are on track for doing that," said Mr. Prabhu.
On improving the efficiency of the rolling stock, the minister was of the view that this could result in huge economic savings to the railways. One of the locomotives being manufactured in India, is going to bring in the best cutting edge technology with least fuel consumption and high speed. It will available by next month, informed the minister.
He said that another locomotive factory would be set up in West Bengal, "We are yet to finalise the bid, but it will happen soon. That again will bring in the best technology, in fact, all the top global players are vying for it", he added.
Highlighting that the Government is taking all these steps in a very transparent manner, the Union Minister said that companies like Siemens have made a consortium in this regard. "So you can imagine
how serious they are because otherwise they would have come on their own."
Mr. Prabhu also informed that Railway Ministry has started working on revamping, refurbishing and retrofitting of 40,000outdated coaches.
"We have already stopped manufacturing non-LHB coaches from April 1, next year and all the LHB coaches will be manufactured, so you can imagine the technological upgradation that is happening at all levels," he said.
He said that Railway Ministry has also completely revamped the ticket-booking mobile application with many services being made available on one single application. "This is going to bring in a completely different experience for the traveller because he can book it completely on his palm literally, not only booking but anything to do with railways."
Talkingabout the recentlyheld huge roundtable conference on technology, he said that Railway Ministry was engaging with all the top global players that had participated in the same.
"1 think we have already taken very serious steps, to modernise and optimise the capacity of railway operations and the biggest other technology tool that we will be using, the rail cloud," said Mr. Prabhu.
The average speed is reckoned as one of the key indicators of all the railway productivity and efficiency in operations and utilization of assets and so the railways is considering to increase the average speed of trains very seriously. Under Mission Raftar, measures are being taken to raise average speed of both passenger carrying trains and freight carrying trains. Railways Ministry is working with many countries to increase the speed of operations, including France.
He said that Railway Ministry has also started working on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)which has the potential to save up to Rs 70,000crore.
"We are also using technology for each and every aspect of railways, including managerial practices which includes our internal processes to ensure that efficiency is allowed and in fact we will try to plug every possible area where there is a leakage, hoodwinking possible and the system will be made foolproof", concluded Mr. Prabhu.
Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister for Railways addressing the audience.
Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister for Railways lighting the ceremonial lamp along with other dignitaries.
Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister for Railways releasing the Conference Background Paper along with (L-R)Mr. Jyoti Prakash Gadia, Managing Director, Resurgent India Limited, Mr. Ghanshyam Singh, Member (Traction), Railway Board, Mr. Sandeep Jajodia, President, ASSOCHAM, H.E. Mr. Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador, Embassy of France, Dr. A. K. Agarwal, Chairman, ASSOCHAM National Council on Rail Transport and Mr. D. S. Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM.