Infrastructure, safety, cutting edge tech to be Railways focus in next 2 yrs: Prabhu

Infrastructure, safety, cutting edge tech to be Railways focus in next 2 yrs: Prabhu


Infrastructure, safety, cutting edge tech to be Railways focus in next 2 yrs: Prabhu



New Delhi: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today said that in the next two years, his Ministry will be involving in a massive infrastructure building and upgradation and modernisation with cutting edge technology. The Railways focus will also be on non-fare revenue enhancement and zero fatality besides, sustainability, Mr Prabhu said in an interview to UNI on completion of three years of the NDA Government. "Indian Railways aims to be the engine for India’s economic growth and development by being safe, financially viable, environment-friendly and caring for its customers and employees," Mr Prabhu said. Regarding the infrastructure upgradation the focus would be on creating a three times bigger Indian Railways which will be economical viable, the Minister said. He also said, that five areas have been identified for driving growth – increase throughput on existing network, build terminal infrastructure, innovative fund raising, accelerate infrastructure buildout and deliver high speed network. Besides, Railways will also be taking up several initiatives and for each initiative, an action plan would be developed, he said. Speaking about improving passenger experience Mr Prabhu said, the focus of Railways is to ensure that every passenger experiences a pleasurable journey. For improving passenger experience the focus will be on punctuality, cleanliness and beautification, catering besides others. For making Railways the preferred freight carrier of the country, Mr Prabhu said it wants to improve the modal share to 37 per cent in 10 years through dynamic pricing, key account management, expanding freight basket and incorporating a customer focused approach. The Railways has identified three areas -- policy interventions, new service offerings and terminal infrastructure. The Minister said the Railways is looking beyond fare. It wants to increase the non-fare revenues to around 15 per cent in five years by fully redeveloping at least 100 stations, getting full potential from advertising and other innovative measures to monetise land and other assets and services. Showing concern over the rise in accidents and loss of precious live, Mr Prabhu said that by infrastructural changes, technological innovations, root cause investigation and resource mobilisation, Railways will move towards a "near zero fatalities". He said the Railways was also working towards ‘Zero Accident’ Mission and in 2016-17, 1,503 unmanned level crossings were eliminated which was the highest ever, and in the past three years, 3,904 unmanned level crossings were eliminated. On sustainability front, Mr Prabhu said, the Railways is working on reducing fuel cost by 20 per cent through accelerating electrification and strategic procurement of diesel. Further, he also said Railways was focusing on alternative sources of energy, and in this regard over the five years it will be commissioning 1000 mw of solar energy and 130 MW of wind energy. Besides, there is also a target to plant 5-crore trees over land leased out for horticulture, he said. Taking about station redevelopment, Mr Prabhu said, his Ministry launched one of the largest transit oriented development programme across the world worth Rs 1,00,000-crore. Habibganj and Gandhinagar stations would be inaugurated before December 2018, moreover, more than 25 stations would be bid out by end of next year.

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