Recently, the much awaited Tejas Express, which boasts of several modern facilities on-board like LED TV and tea, coffee vending machine was flagged off from Mumbai to Goa by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. This shows the commitment of thie government to provide the best to the common people.
There were many other achievements and here is what Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhu has to say about it:
It is our Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s firm belief that Railways can give Gati and Pragati to the nation. We are driven by his vision to make Indian Railways the growth engine of our country. As I look back at the financial year gone by, I can say that we had many success and few misses. I am satisfied but not content. Innovative policies which we introduced have started giving dividends resulting in increase in both passenger and freight traffic. We reversed trend of declining number of passengers and carried 8221 million passengers which is 70 Million more than the last year. I would like to thank all my stakeholders for the connect and their trust on Indian Railways.
To remove bottlenecks, which are created because of the under investment over last many years, it was imperative to work on infrastructure creation. By working on infrastructure augmentation we aspire not only to catch up with the rising demand but also to be ready for future demand. I am glad that we have been able to achieve significant success.
Some of the key highlights have been:
- Highest ever 2855 kms of new lines, gauge conversion and doubling commissioned
- Highest ever 953 kms of new line commissioned
- Entire meter gauge has been converted to broad gauge in north east region
- Highest ever 2013 kms of electrification done
- Highest ever 1503 unmanned level crossings eliminated
- Highest ever 1306 Road Over Bridges and Subways completed.
We are working on an ambitious Rs. 8.56 Lakh crore investment plan in the next five years. We have gone beyond the traditional method of financing and are leveraging innovative financing models for fuelling our capital expenditure plan. We have formed Joint Ventures with states to speed up infrastructure augmentation keeping the specific needs of every state in perspective.
It is our endeavour to provide superior travel experience to our passengers. We have taken a number of measures to ensure with significant success. Augmenting passenger amenities, new train products, special trains, increase in carrying capacity are just some of the measures we have taken to provide comfort to our passengers.
However, we have a lot more to do and we will not rest. Some of the significant achievements in 2016-17 have been:
- Launched new train products: Humsafar, a completely air conditioned luxury service at affordable price with improved aesthetics, amenities and Antyodaya, a completely unreserved long distance service with improved coaches
- We commissioned 48 lifts and 61 escalators
- High speed Wi-Fi was provided at 100+ stations
- On Board Housekeeping facilities were extended to 157 more trains making a total of 830 trains
- Attached 586 coaches in regular trains, generating an additional capacity of 43,420 berths
- 150 toilets provided for Divyang
- Total 1313 stations have been provided with 100 % LED lights
- We ran 31,438 trips of special trains
Sustainability is another thrust area. We have mainstreamed sustainability and it is no more a peripheral activity. We are working on not only reducing our carbon footprint but also creating positive environmental impact.
Some of the highlights in 2016-17 have been:
- 4 MW of installed solar capacity added
- Record 34,000 bio-toilets fitted. In last six years 36,000 bio-toilets were provided
- Energy audit conducted at 205 stations
- 1313 stations have been provided with 100 % LED lights
- We came up with a new Water Policy for efficient use of water resources
- We came up with Mission 41k to achieve a savings of Rs. 41,000 Cr in next 10 years by energy efficiency
It is worth mentioning that since India’s independence the freight traffic in Indian Railways has increased by about 1400% and passenger kilometres by about 1700%, but the route kilometres have grown by just 23%. This has resulted in congestion on the tracks. 40% of the sections are running with more than 100% line capacity utilisation. With increased capital expenditure we are trying to de-congest the network. However, infrastructure creation is a time consuming activity. We have also created a Rail Sanranksha Kosh with a total investment of Rs.1 lakh crore.
We want to see a quantum jump in the safety performance on the Indian Railways in the next few years. We are introducing latest technology and moving from preventive to predictive maintenance. The augmentation of more physical infrastructure in terms of more railway lines, road over bridges, better signalling, safety related works etc. are impacting the punctuality of trains a little. But the works which we are undertaking now were long overdue and would give much better service delivery in the times to come. We are working on improving the punctuality of trains, and we seek your cooperation. while we have made major inroads in many areas, a lot is yet to be done and we have ambitious plans ahead.
Some of the significant plans we are working on and which will facilitate in benchmarking of Indian Railways with the best in the world are:
- Rs. 8.56 Lakh Crore capital expenditure plan
- Mission “Zero fatality” to ensure complete safety
- 100% Elimination of Unmanned level Crossings
- Mission One ICT to leverage IT in all aspects of Indian Railways’ functioning for greater efficiency
- Dedicated freight corridor to segregate passenger and freight traffic and thus reduce congestion considerably
- Setting up Rail Development Authority (RDA), an independent regulator to recommend passenger and freight fares and set service level benchmarks
- Rs. 1 Lakh Crore Rail Saranksha Fund for spending on upgrading safety standards
- Mission Raftar to enhance both average and highest speed of trains
- Implementation of accounting reforms to ensure co-relation between input parameters and organisational outcomes
- Mission 5 Cr trees to plant trees for environment conservation
- Redevelopment of stations into world class terminals having best-in-class amenities
- Enhancing non fare revenue through advertisements, monetisation of real estate etc.
- To connect all capital cities of North Eastern States with broad gauge by 2020
- Making Indian Railways 100% human waste discharge free through use of Bio-Toilets
- Generation of 1000 MW solar power, thus becoming one of country’s largest solar power producer
Our Honourable Prime Minister has taken keen interest in Railways and under his leadership, as we continue on our journey to take Indian Railways to greater heights, your cooperation is important to us. Let us work together to make Indian Railways, one of the best in the world.