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Govt writes to Railways to execute 6 projects as part of 100-day plan

The Centre has drawn up an ambitious 100-day agenda which includes six objectives, like, Wi-Fi for passengers and raising speed of trains on New Delhi-Howrah and New Delhi-Mumbai routes among others.

india Updated: Jul 16, 2019 23:42 IST
Faizan Haidar
Faizan Haidar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Indian Railways has to fulfil six objectives set by the Centre and has set a hundred day deadline for the completion of these projects.
Indian Railways has to fulfil six objectives set by the Centre and has set a hundred day deadline for the completion of these projects. (ANI PHOTO)
         

From provision of Wi-FI facilities at more than 6,400 railway stations to offering world-class on-board passenger services and raising the speed of key trains, Indian Railways has its work cut out for the 100 days leading up to October 15.

Cabinet secretary PK Sinha has written to Railway Board chairman VK Yadav of six potentially transformative ideas the government, which was sworn in on May 30after winning a landslide in the Lok Sabha elections, wants the national transporter to implement as part of an ambitious 100-day agenda drawn up by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government for its second term.

The six are among 167 projects a group of ministers has zeroed in on for the NDA to execute. Sinha wrote to Yadav on July 10 about the six objectives the group of ministers is entrusting to Railways. HT has a copy of the letter.

Wi-Fi for passengers, elimination of all manned level crossings on the Golden Quadrilateral,raising the speed of trains on the New Delhi-Howrah and New Delhi-Mumbai routes to 160 kmph to reduce the travel time to 12 hours from approximately 14-hour, the hiring of private passenger train operators, where selected trains will be run by private parties, to provide world class services such as on board the railway network, and corporatisation of the production unit of rolling stock and installation of an advanced signalling system are the six tasks chosen for Indian Railways, a railway board official said.

The Railway Board will brief the cabinet secretary every Friday on the status of these projects. The 100-day programme will be implemented with effect from July 5 to October 15, according to the letter.

According to Indian Railways, out of 8,738 stations, 6,441 stations are to be provided Wi-Fi. So far, 832 stations have already been equipped with the Wi-Fi facility.

The Union cabinet is likely to approve the conversion of the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah routes into corridors where trains can run at a speed of 160 kmph. The move will boost Indian Railways ‘ambitious Mission Raftaar (speed), which is intended to boost the maximum speed of both passenger and freight trains.

“We already have prioritised six corridors, which we call Golden Quadrilateral which carry 58% of the freight traffic and 52% of the passenger traffic but has a share of only 16% of the total network. Currently only 5% of Indian Railway network is fit for 130kmph and only 0.3% fit for 160kmph, while the coaches and locos are compatible to run at 160kmph. We will begin with two routes and will take four years from the time of approval to complete the project,” a Railway official said, requesting anonymity.

According to another official familiar with the matter, the Delhi-Mumbai corridor has 431 level crossings, which need to be removed. The Delhi-Howrah corridor has 60 level crossings that need to be eliminated.

To install an advanced signalling system, Railways has signed an MoU with RailTel Enterprises Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of RailTel Corporation of India Ltd, for modernising the system on four sections, which includes automatic train protection system.The new signalling system will help the railway to reduce the distance between two trains and increase capacity.

First Published: Jul 16, 2019 23:42 IST

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