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,

Assocham Bulletin - - INDUSTRY -

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.

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