The Railways is stonewalling tech-guru Sam Pitroda’s plans to extend usage of the Satellite Imaging for Rail Navigation (SIMRAN) to provide passenger-related information.
Saying that Pitroda’s formula could be misused by Naxal and anti-national elements, Railways officials opposed the plan at Monday’s meeting of the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) committee.
With the meeting ending in a deadlock, implementation on the Pitroda plan has been put off by at least a month, ministry sources said.
Pitroda’s idea is to use the SIMRAN network to provide real time train information to passengers about the precise location of trains and the train running position.
Proposing that the Railways could provide such information to external users (passengers) through the internet, mobile phones or Interactive Voice Response Systems (IVRS), Pitroda had suggested that the Railways could enter into revenue sharing arrangements with mobile service providers.
Transmitting information about train running position to external users will come at the risk of providing lead time to Naxal groups to plan their attacks on running trains, ministry officials said at the meeting.
Addressing these concerns, Pitroda told the meeting that only “safe information” could be relayed by putting in place a manual filtering process at the main server.
SIMRAN is a satellite based railway tracking system that uses the GPS and GPRS technologies to provide information about the location of trains and the train running position.