Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pitroda to help Railways modernise

Last updated on: September 21, 2011 19:49 IST
After the high-level committee on safety, Railways on Wednesday constituted another expert committee headed by Sam Pitroda to recommend ways and means to modernize tracks, signaling, rolling stock and stations.
"We are looking at the Railways to be taken to the fourth generation. We have set up a committee which will look into the modernization  in railways," Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi told reporters in New Delhi.
Deepak Parekh, HDFC Bank Chairman, M S Verma, former SBI Chairman, Raghuram, Professor IIM, Ahmedabad, Rajiv Lal, IDFC MD and Vinayak Chatterjee, Feedback, Infrastructure Services Chairman are members of the committee.
The committee will submit a preliminary report in two months.
Trivedi said the "economy will grow at about 8 per cent provided Indian Railways grow at 10 or 12 per cent. Railways is and definitely going to be the engine of growth."
Referring to the Vision 2010 document prepared during former Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, Pitroda said "this document had envisaged the modernization. Now the time is ripe to take this vision for execution at a high speed. The basic ground work for modernization was done during Mamata's regime."
Railways had constituted a high-level committee on safety last week under the chairmanship of nuclear scientist Anil Kakodkar which will suggest ways to prevent rail accidents.
Asked where the funds will come for modernization, he said "we realize that when we talked about the modernization.
If we want to improve the infrastructure, then railways cannot do that alone. Railway is capable of running trains.
But investments have to come from private sector for modernization of coaches, wagons and new track laying. We require private funding. We require massive funding."
However, Trivedi said "this is not a problem but a situation. The Planning Commission has to understand this.
There are certain projects like connecting remote areas and border areas that needs funding. Government has to take a call on this. These need to be declared national projects and not necessarily money would come from railways. Otherwise, it would not be possible."
Asked about the fate of other committees constituted by Railways earlier, Trivedi said "we have benefitted from those committees. This is a continuing process. I would not say this is the first committee or the last committee. There will be a committee as and when there will be requirement. We need experts as challenges change."
The committee under Pitroda will be outlining strategies for modernization of railways with a focus on track, signaling, rolling stock, stations and terminals using ICT for improving efficiency and safety, augmenting existing capacities of railways through indigenous development, reviewing projects and addressing the public private partnership (PPP) model.
Trivedi said "the committee will submit a preliminary report within two months and then a final report so that there is a clear picture before the rail budget."
Referring to the recent accident near Chennai, the Railway Minister said according to the initial report, loco pilot had jumped the red signal before ramming the stationery train.
In the modernization scheme, the train cannot move even if the driver jumps the red signal. The modernized system will be such that the train will automatically stop."
He said "currently there is a block system where a train can pass only after another train passes that block. So, the modernization will enhance capacity as the movement will be faster."
Giving details of the committee's task, Pitroda said "this is the right time to look into Mamata's Vision 2020 document and focus on its execution. Our job is to look into key areas - track, signaling and rolling stock."
He said "track needs to be modernized. Second area is signaling system as there is very little electronic signal system in Indian Railways. Third area is rolling stock as we need high horse power engines, modern coaches and wagons."
On the need for modernizing railway stations, Pitroda said "there are more than 7000 stations. We want modernization of stations using PPP model. This will also help creating revenue generation."


Devarajan said...

Whatever be the modernisation, unless the Railways changes its attitude towards the running staff(on Rest rules,Running allowance, Grade pay,Calendar day rest), nothing will change for ensuring safety.

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