By H.C. Kunwar

The total approximate earnings of Indian Railways on originating basis during 1st April to 31st December 2012 were Rs. 89906.46 crore compared to Rs. 75009.17 crore during the same period last year, registering an increase of 19.86 per cent. The total goods earnings have gone up from Rs. 49868.95 crore during 1st April – 31st December 2011 to Rs. 62413.41 crore during 1st April – 31st December 2012, registering an increase of 25.15 per cent. The total passenger revenue earnings during 1st April – 31st December 2012 were Rs. 23025.34 crore compared to Rs. 20999.01 crore during the same period last year, registering an increase of 9.65 per cent. In the calendar year 2012, Indian Railways has achieved scrap sale of Rs. 3903.84 crore till Nov. 2012. For the corresponding period in 2011 sale achieved by Railway was 3748.68 crore.

The total approximate numbers of passengers booked during 1st April – 31st December 2012 were 6422.29 million compared to 6210.12 million during the same period last year, showing an increase of 3.42 per cent. Indian Railways have carried 735.10 million tonnes of revenue earning freight traffic during April-December 2012. The freight carried shows an increase of 31.33 million tonnes over the freight traffic of 703.77 million tonnes actually carried during the corresponding period last year, registering an increase of 4.45 per cent. 

In a path breaking initiative taken by the Ministry of Railways, a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in February 2012 for setting up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) namely “Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited” (IRSDL) to take up work of redevelopment of railway stations along with station maintenance across India in a dedicated manner. Under new SPV, it is proposed to provide the identified stations with well designed concourses, high quality waiting spaces, easy access to the platforms, congestion free platforms, modern ‘State of the art’ Catering facilities, Hotels and other facilities. After conducting preliminary studies & holding consultations with zonal railways, five stations, Bijwasan (Delhi) Habibganj (Bhopal), Anand Vihar (Delhi), Chandigarh, Shivaji Nagar (Pune), have been identified for implementation through IRSDC in the first phase.

As a major initiative to further facilitate the travel of bonafide and legitimate passengers and to reduce the scope for misuse of reserved ticketing system by unscrupulous elements/middlemen, the Ministry of Railways has now made it compulsory to carry prescribed original proof of identity cards during train travel on all reserved classes of tickets. Those travelling without an original identify proof shall be treated as without ticket and charged accordingly. This new change of policy is aimed at facilitating the travel of bonafide and genuine passengers and simultaneously checking the scope for travel on transferred tickets. It is also considered that this policy provision shall also be useful from the security point of view. 

The year 2012 saw a big push for the key infrastructure projects of Railways. After a review meeting on infrastructure held by the Prime Minister in the last week of November 2012, deadline has been set for such important infrastructure projects like the elevated rail corridor in Mumbai, setting up of locomotive factories on public private partnership, rail tariff authority and Dedicated Freight Corridors. A time bound action plan has since been initiated by the Railway Ministry on these issues.

Mumbai has one of the most crowded and overloaded suburban systems in the world. Concerned about the capacity constraint on the Corridor, Ministry of Railways has decided to augment the system capacity and has accordingly envisioned a two track elevated corridor along Churchgate-Virra section. This new Elevated Rail Corridor (ERC) will be between Oval Maidan and Virar of Western Railway in Mumbai area. The indicative cost of 63.27 km-long ERC project is approximately Rs. 21,000 crore. Under this corridor, 26 stations are proposed, out of which 5 stations would be underground, 19 elevated and 2 at grade.

The Indian Railway has achieved one more milestone in transportation sector with the completion of Banihal-Qazigund section of ambitious and challenging Udhampur-Baramullah-Srinagar Rail link Project. Trials by running trains have started in the section by Railways with the arrival of first Track Tamping machine at Banihal on 24th December 2012 from Qazigund. All the major works have been completed and finishing touch is being given. This section will be ready for opening shortly the 17.729 km long section consists of only one tunnel of 11.215 km length known as Pir Panjal Tunnel, which is the longest transportation tunnel in India and second longest in Asia. Opening of Banihal-Qazigund railway section will be a turning point not only in the history of Jammu & Kashmir State only, but for the Indian history. 

Indian Railways’ ambitious project of ‘Dedicated Freight Corridor’ (DFC) continued its implementation momentum during this year. There has been progress on both the corridors namely 1499 km long Western DFC from Jawahar Lal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Mumbai to Dadri/Tughlakabad (Near Delhi) and 1839 km long Eastern DFC from Ludhiana (Punjab) to Dankuni (Near Kolkata). Land acquisition is progressing well and as on November 2012, out of total land of 10703 hectares to be acquired for both corridors, 7768 hectares i.e. 73% has been acquired. Initial funding agreements for Western DFC through JICA and part of Eastern DFC (Ludhiana-Khurja-Kanpur-Mughalsarai) through World Bank have already been formalized while remaining Dankuni-Sonnagar section of Eastern DFC is proposed to be implemented through PPP and Mughalsarai-Sonnagar section of Eastern DFC is being implemented through the resources of the Ministry of Railways.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on ‘Campaign Clean India’ was signed between the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Railways. Under the MOU, the two Ministries will work together towards a sustained sensitization campaign to train travelers and service providers under the Capacity Building for Service Providers scheme of Ministry of Tourism and for consultations and discussions with the stake holders including the travel trade to evolve strategies for the up-keep and cleanliness of the stations and coaches. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Railways has issued a notification containing rules on prohibition of activities affecting cleanliness and hygiene in the Railway premises alongwith penalties for contravention of these rules. Whosoever contravenes any of the provisions of these rules or fails to comply with such provisions shall be punished with a fine which shall not exceed five hundred rupees.

April 2013

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