To smoothen passage on ground, the Indian Railways wants to put a satellite in space.
The Railway Ministry has begun talks with the Indian Space Research Organisation and project costs are being worked out, ministry sources said.
Sam Pitroda, who heads the five-member ministerial committee on information and communications technologies, has readied a draft project proposal.
The proposal has been forwarded to the Railway Board for its approval, sources said.
The Indian Railways has a 30,000-kilometre network of optical fibre cables. “The network alone cannot take care of future bandwidth needs. Instead of hiring transponders, it is best to have a dedicated satellite,” a member of the Pitroda committee told HT.
A satellite will also enable WiFi connectivity at stations, on-board access to television channels, and extend the reservation system to remote areas.
“Technology applications can improve freight and traffic management systems in a revolutionary manner and add to value added services leading to generation of employment,” sources said.
“The concept will add to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s idea of pooling together the country’s infrastructure investment. The Railways communications network can be used by other government departments,” an official said.
Since May 2007, the Indian Railways has been working called Satellite Imaging for Rail Navigation – aiming to provide for real time train running information to the passengers.
Last October 1, Banerjee had nominated Pitroda as head of the ICT committee to propose methods to use technology and innovations to improve the “security, safety, convenience, productivity, efficiency and growth of the Indian Railways”.
Departments including the Center for Railways Information System and the Railtel Corporation of India have been involved in the project. Pitroda was not available for comments, his office staff said he did not wish to speak to the media.