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Ministry of Railways27-December, 2007 17:21 IST
Indian Railways: Strides of Progress in 2007




Year End Review

In the past few years, Indian Railways have registered an unprecedented turnaround in its fortunes that has helped launch itself towards a path of gigantic growth and development, keeping in view the future transportation needs of the economy.   Milestones have been bettered and sights set on newer ones, especially those that beckon it during the 11th Plan period such as the freight loading target of 1100 million tonnes during that period.  The year 2007 has been significant for the Railways in achieving goals and targets with regard to the following:

Revenue Generation

The total approximate earnings of Indian Railways on originating basis during 1st April-30th November 2007 were Rs. 44472.14 crore compared to Rs. 39669.25 crore during the same period last year, registering an increase of 12.11 per cent. The total goods earnings have gone up from Rs. 26658.73 crore during 1st April-30th November 2006 to Rs. 29754.06 crore during 1st April-30th November 2007, showing an increase of 11.61 per cent. The total passenger revenue earnings during first eight months of the financial year 2007-08 were Rs. 12869.41 crore compared to Rs. 11328.74 crore during the same period last year, registering an increase of 13.60 per cent. The revenue earnings from other coaching and sundry amounted to Rs. 1848.67 crore during April- November 2007 compared to Rs. 1681.80 crore during the same period last year, showing an increase of 9.92 per cent. 

The total approximate number of passengers booked during April- November 2007 were 4430.69 million compared to 4194.35 million during the same period last year, showing an increase of 5.63 per cent. In the suburban and non-suburban sectors, the number of passengers booked during April- November 2007 were 2428.49 million and 2002.20 million compared to 2314.17 million and 1880.18 million during the same period last year, an increase of 4.94 per cent and 6.49 per cent respectively.

Indian Railways have carried 501.46 million tonnes of revenue earning freight traffic during the first eight months (i.e. April – November 2007) of the current financial year 2007-08. The freight carried shows an increase of 37.07 million tonnes over the freight traffic of 464.39 million tonnes actually carried during the corresponding period last year, reflecting an increase of 7.98 per cent. 

The operating ratio in the Indian Railways is amongst the best in the world and has reached the level of 78 per cent. 

UIC plays active role under IR leadership

In a significant policy move, the180-member strong International Union of Railways (UIC), which represents the interest of global rail transport, has confirmed its strategic role in achieving higher quality assurance in all aspects of railway sector at global level under the present leadership.  The move will position UIC as a global quality assurance certification agency.  This emerged at Executive Board and General Assembly meetings of UIC which were held in Paris on 7th December 2007.  The meetings were chaired by Shri K. C. Jena, Chairman, UIC and Chairman, Railway Board, Indian Railways. 

Making India a global hub for International Railway Managers

           In a historic step towards making India the global hub for International Railway Managers, the foundation stone was laid for the International Railway Strategic Management Institute (IRSMI) to be set up in New Delhi. The Institute, an initiative of Indian Railways and International Union of Railways (UIC), is planned to be fully operational by the year 2010 with independent infrastructure. The Institute will provide International training facilities in co-operation with top most global Business Schools to Railway professionals. This will make India a center for providing trained manpower to Rail Companies across the globe. The Institute under the aegis of International Union of Railways (UIC) will prepare International Railway managers to meet the future challenges in rail operations.

Signing agreement on Trans-Asian Railways

In line with the Government’s “Look East Policy” that requires strengthening of rail linkages in the region especially with our South East Asian neighbours, the Government of India has signed the Inter-Governmental Agreement on Trans-Asian Railway. The Agreement was signed by Chairman Railway Board, Indian Railways, on behalf of Government of India at UN Headquarters, New York.

Passenger Amenities

As the year 2007-08 is being observed as ‘Cleanliness Year’, the Ministry of Railways has taken several initiatives to ensure cleanliness and hygiene at station premises, in passenger trains, railway lines, waiting rooms etc. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has taken numerous steps to improve the quality of catering services provided in trains. IRCTC has initiated the process of modernizing the departmental base kitchens at New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. It is proposed to have state-of-the-art equipments and professional manpower for the base kitchens. The licensees have also been directed to upgrade their base kitchens and to obtain International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) certifications. In the existing base kitchens also, continuous efforts are being made to ensure that the food is prepared under clean and hygienic conditions with standard raw materials. The Hon’ble Court has considered the report submitted by the Committee and appreciated the efforts made by IRCTC to improve the overall quality of catering services.

World-class railway stations

In a bid to make Indian Railways the world’s No. 1 Railway network, the Committee on Infrastructure under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister has approved the proposal to develop New Delhi Railway Station as a world class station before the Commonwealth Games to be held in New Delhi in 2010. The Ministry of Railways has decided to constitute a Core Group for monitoring of Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects related to development of 22 World Class Railway Stations across the country including New Delhi Railway Station. The Committee will set up clear timeframe for each of the 22 railway stations, which will be upgraded to world-class stations.

Dial ‘139’ countrywide common telephone no. for train enquiry

In a new endeavour, to provide new, modern and improved facilities to the passengers, the Indian Railways has introduced the Integrated Train Enquiry System (ITES) ‘Rail Sampark’ call centre with common telephone number 139. This significant passenger friendly initiative is now available for general public throughout the country.  Under this system, the MTNL and BSNL subscribers in the covered area may make a local call at telephone No. 139 (without requiring STD facility) to get basic enquiries pertaining to train journey like arrival/departure of train, status of availability of seats, train fare etc. Highly skilled and trained customer care executives have been deployed at these Call Centres provide 24X7 Customer Care Services. This service will ultimately also be made available to all general public in the country who may subscribe to any telecom service provider irrespective of the type of telecom service (basic, mobile, WLL).In addition to Hindi and English, enquiry services will also be available in regional languages. The work of implementation of Integrated Train Enquiry System (ITES) is based on public-private partnership (PPP model).       

Dedicated Freight Corridor

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) presented the final study report on Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) to the Ministry of Railways. The DFC projects are the flagship projects of Indian Railways and are certainly one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in the country. The project is vital for the Indian Railways for capacity creation to meet the ever-growing traffic requirements and the implementation of this project requires massive resources and is also a challenge for our engineers in more ways than one. Development of DFC for carrying additional traffic is essential in view of high growth in demand. Railways have proposed a 2700 kilometre long railway line project (Eastern Corridor – 1279 kms. and Western corridor – 1483 Kms.) as an augmentation of capacity of Indian Railways network to handle the large increase in volume of traffic expected over the coming years. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has already given approval ‘in principle’ for the projects. Indian Railways have decided to upgrade the entire feeder routes of proposed Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) initially for 25 ton axle load and subsequently to 30 ton axle load.  Four of these proposed feeder routes falling on Western Railway are Pipavav - Surendranagar – Viramgam – Mahesana, Viramgam – Samkhiali, Kandla Port – Gandhidham – Palanpur and Mundra Port – Gandhidham.  The bridges falling on these feeder routes are also required to be upgraded for making them fit for 25/30 ton axle load train operation.

Production Units meet target

The production unit of Indian Railways helped set the pace for continuing growth.  Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) produced 97 electric locomotives against the target of 94 electronic locomotives and Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) produced 137 diesel locomotives against the target of 127 diesel locomotives during  first seven months of the fiscal 2007-08 (April-October 2007). Rail Coach Factory (RCF) produced 783 coaches against the target of 778 coaches where as Integral Coach Factory (ICF) produced 668 coaches against the target of 682 coaches during the same period. Rail Wheel Factory (RWF) produced 73755 wheels and 22336 axles against the target of 73072 wheels and 22335 axles during April-October 2007. 

Introduction of state-of-the-art EMUs

The first prototype AC/DC EMU rake (12 Car) having state-of-the-art technology with microprocessor controlled dual voltage system, specially designed for Mumbai Suburban Area, has been  manufactured by Integral Coach Factory, Chennai with the electrics of M/s Siemens. This prototype rake has already been introduced on Western Railway for passenger service on 12.11.2007. With the introduction of this rake, 21 services per day has been increased. Indian Railways plan to introduce 117 such AC/DC EMU rakes in near future.  These AC/DC EMU coaches have special features such as Passenger Information and Communication System which will be beneficial for passengers in gaining information about destination of the train, approaching stations and other information similar to Delhi Metro coaches. Forced Ventilation System is also used in these coaches for better passenger comfort. In addition there will be saving of electrical energy as these rakes will be regenerating approx 30% energy during braking. 

Reaching out to backward areas

In a significant move which will bring about socio-economic development of the backward areas of Bastar region predominantly inhabited by tribal population in Chhattisgarh state and further the industrial progress and mining activities in the region, Indian Railways have taken a momentous step to expand the reach of its network in this backward area meeting the long pending demand of the local populace. In a shining example of Public-Public Partnership, Ministry of Railways, Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), National Minerals Development Corporation (NMDC) and State Government of Chhattisgarh have come together to construct a 235 kilometer new broad gauge railway line from DalliRajhara to Jagdalpur via Rowghat in Chhattisgarh.  

Setting up of joint venture power plant

           Railways have added another mile stone by signing a joint venture agreement with National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd. (NTPC) to set up a 1000 MW power plant – Bhartiya Rail Bijlee Company Limited at Nabinagar in Bihar. The Nabinagar power plant, to be built at a cost of Rs. 5352 crore, will be of 1000 MW capacity and 10 per cent of power from this plant is earmarked to other users. The equity portions of NTPC and Indian Railways will be 74 per cent (Rs. 1188 crore) and 26 per cent (Rs. 417 crore) respectively. Indian Railways is thereby expected to save approximately Rs. 600 crore per annum. The electricity from this plant will be utilized by Indian Railways for running electric trains in Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Chhatisgarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh in the eastern and western regions of the country.  

Coal transportation agreement

           In a significant move at facilitating power generation in the country, Indian Railways have signed a Coal Transportation Agreement with M/s Nagarajuna Power Corporation Limited (NPCL) which is setting up a 1015 MW thermal power plant near Padubidri near Udipi in Karnataka on Konkan Railway.  The Agreement was signed  among Southern Railway, Konkan Railway Corporation Limited and NPCL.  Under the agreement, the coal required for the plant will be transported by rail from new Mangalore Port to the plant covering a distance of about 36 Kms.  Coal required for the power plant will be imported at the port.  While loading of coal and a small lead of 5 kms is in Southern Railway, unloading siding will be in Konkan Railway jurisdiction.  Transportation of 2.8 MTPA of coal will be required for the power house.  The present agreement is on the lines of the agreement earlier signed with M/s Rosa Power Company Limited. 

Technological Upgradation of Telecommunication  Systems

           A total of 29000 RKMs Optical Fibre Cable has been commissioned on Indian Railways.  Work of upgradation of OFC network to high bandwidth STM-16 network is in full swing and has already been commissioned on all important routes.  Further plans are under way for the provision of very high capacity DWDM network on about 8500 RKMs, the contract for which has already been awarded by Railtel.  RailTel have been asked to provide Cyber Cafes at 82 stations on Indian Railways out of which cyber cafes at 24 stations have been commissioned till November 2007.  A decision has been taken to install  Wi-Fi systems at 50 stations initially as a pilot project by Railtel.  This will enable passengers at these stations to make use of Broadband internet facility using their Laptops and other Wi-Fi enabled services.  Twenty stations are expected to be made operational by March 2008 and remaining 30 stations will be commissioned in 2008-09.  Based on the result of the pilot scheme, the system may be extended to other stations. With a view to improve the disbursal of railway tickets, a large number of ATMs are being installed at various railway stations. Last year, the Ministry of Railways had entered into an agreement with State Bank of India for installation of ATMs at 682 railway stations across the country which was followed up by allowing six more banks to install ATMs at 711 locations. These banks are; Canara Bank, Punjab National Bank, Indian Bank, Dena Bank, Union Bank of India and Bank of Baroda. The Ministry of Railways has asked all these banks to complete the installation of all ATMs by 31st March 2008.

Highest bonus ever paid to employees

As a result of the overwhelming performance of the Indian Railways during the financial year 2006-07, the Cabinet has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Railways for payment of Productivity Linked Bonus to the extent of 70 days wages for the financial year 2006-07. Productivity Linked Bonus is based on the productivity indices of the Indian Railways and this is the highest bonus ever paid on the Railways.  This payment will benefit approximately 13.30 lakh non-gazetted eligible Railway employees.

Safety and security

           The number of accidents over the Indian Railways has been witnessing a sustained declining trend over the past several years. In the year 2000-01 the number of accidents stood at 473 which have come down to 195 last year.  All possible steps are undertaken on a continuing basis to prevent accidents.  These measures include timely replacement of over aged assets, adoption of suitable technologies for upgradation and maintenance of track, rolling stock, signaling and inter-locking systems etc.  Anti-Collision Device developed by Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd. has been installed on 1763 route kilometers of Northeast Frontier Railway.  Railways have proposed to install about 57000 Anti-Collision Devices (ACDs) over the entire Broad Gauge (BG) Network of Indian Railways by 2014.  Railways are under the process of installing CCTV and x-ray machines on railway stations initially at identified 185 sensitive locations across the country for a more effective handling of crime, pilferage and terrorist threats.

Excellent achievements in sports

Indian Railways have registered important achievements in the field of sports at International and National levels. During 2007, at International level, in the Asian Athletics Championship held at Amman (Jordan) in July 2007. IR athletes won 2 Gold, 2 Silver and 2 Bronze Medals. In the World Billiards Championship held in Singapore in September 2007, both the finalists i.e. Shri Rupesh Ashwinbhai Shah and Shri Ashok Harishankar Sandilaya were from Indian Railways and Shri Rupesh Shah emerged as the new World Champion. In USIC (Union Sportive Internationale des Cheminots) World Railways Tennis Championship held at Prague (Republic of Czech) in June 2007, Indian Railways team won the championship. In Commonwealth Free Style and Greco Roman Style Wrestling Championship held in Ontario, Canada in June 2007, IR wrestlers won 6 Gold and 4 Silver medals.

             At national level too, during 2007 IR  sportsperson  have won about 50% National Championships including Athletics(M&W), Hockey(W), Boxing(M&W), Cricket(W), Kabaddi (M&W), Volleyball(M&W), Handball(W), Cycling (M) etc.

            Besides, during 2007, two IR sports-persons, viz. Jyoti S. Kullu (Hockey) and Shri Vijinder (Boxing) were honoured with “Arjuna Award” and Shri Virender Singh, ex-Hockey Player of IR has also been honoured with prestigious “Dhyanchand Award for Lifetime Achievements in Sports and Games”.

World Heritage

       A proposal to include Kalka – Shimla Railway  (KSR) as world heritage site is being considered by UNESCO and a team from International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) an organ of UNESCO for cultural heritage sites, inspected the KSR in September, 2007. Based on their report and recommendations, further examination of the application will be done internally by ICOMOS & UNESCO and KSR may come up for consideration to be listed as a World Heritage Site in the next session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Canada in July’2008. Matheran Light Railway has completed 100 years in April 2007 of its existence and is still operational. The construction work for this railway was started in 1904 and the Neral-Matheran section at the foothill of Mumbai-Pune section was opened to traffic in March 1907.

Allowing sale of reserved tickets through Post Offices

           Another landmark achievement of Indian Railways in 2007 was the step to expand the reach of reserved tickets nearer to the doorsteps of passengers even in remote areas by allowing selling of reserved tickets through Post Offices. A Memorandum of Understating in this regard was signed by the Ministry of Railways and Department of Posts. This is the joint endeavour of the Ministry of Railways and the Ministry of Communications and IT for the benefit of people especially those who are staying in remote areas to enable them to get reserved tickets from the nearby Post Offices.

Growing world-wide interest in Indian Railways

           Impressed by the landmark economic success of Indian Railways and growing worldwide interest in its spectacular performance during the past more than three years, a four member delegation led by Mr. Frank Brown, Dean, INSEAD, a leading International Business School, visited the Ministry of Railways. The delegation was given a detailed presentation on the historic ‘turnaround story of Indian Railways’ which has now become a case study for many National and International Business schools. A 30-member team of Civil Servants from Bangladesh, on a study tour of India, called on the Railway Minister to learn more about the significant performance of Indian Railways. A 16-member US Financial Services and Industry Study Group led by Dr. David G. Blair, Professor of Economics, National Defence University, Washington also visited the Ministry of Railways.



(Release ID :34243)

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