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Blog Entry# 2054198  
Posted: Nov 09 2016 (21:01)

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Last Response: Nov 09 2016 (21:01)
  
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Nov 09 2016 (16:28)   Two years of Prabhu Rail, some hit, some fail

Jayashree   36419 news posts
Entry# 2054198   News Entry# 285234         Tags   Past Edits
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu completes 2 years in office today. No minister in the Modi Government garners as much praise as Prabhu perhaps and most of his work is splashed on social media. But if the massive railway system is broken up and analysed, where does Prabhu stand? As DNA finds out, in some he is first in class, in others the legacy is failing him comprehensively.
Operationally yours It might be one of the areas where Prabhu has done well. In the last two years, the railways has managed to increase the number of confirmed berths annually on its trains from 37.1 crore in 2014 to 44.7 crore in 2016. This is a jump of over 20 percent. To put matters
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into perspective, the 44.7 crore berths are greater than the population of all countries in the world except China and India itself. Statistics available with the railway ministry show that over the last two years, it ran 70,000 special trains, introduced 308 new trains, extended 99 trains, increased the frequency per week (fpw) of 188 trains and permanently added 1610 coaches to various trains. The railways ran a little over 2.5 lakh extra coach trips in the past two years, ministry data shows. While the Ganesh Chaturthi rush in Maharashtra and Diwali rush nationwide were among the densest traveling cycles anywhere in the world, Prabhu's two years at the helm have seen a dip in the usual stampede at the ticket counters and the sardine-like commute in general compartments. "The railways ran 200--odd Ganesh Chaturthi specials between Mumbai and Konkan which in terms of seats is almost 2 lakh seats. That is game-changing," said an official.
Don't Invest in the Mutual Funds Until You've Seen This! ArthaYantra Know The Latest In Stock Markets Bloomberg Quint Ernakulam Girl Gets 4 Shades Fairer in 2 Mins by Using This 1 Weird Old Trick! Fit Mom Daily Industrial, manufacturing arms of the railways This is a sector where the legacy of the past three decades trips Prabhu. The last three decades saw manufacturing of rakes, introduction of new designs or even research into newer rolling stock losing pace when compared to international trends. Countries like China, apart from usual suspects like Japan and Europe, hit India out of the park.
"The real dawn for railway's manufacturing units is when we will be good enough to export a substantial range of our products and bring in foreign exchange for the country. However, thanks to low emphasis on manufacturing, we are not even a player in the international market. Forget foreign countries, the railways wouldn't be able to win a metro rolling stock (trains) contract within the country- save Kolkata which is owned by the railways- even if it tried its best," explained a senior official.
Railway authorities swing into action after Renuka Shahane's SOS tweet to Suresh Prabhu In July this year, the railway ministry asked all its production units (PU) to prepare a plan to market at least 10 percent of their products to firms or countries outside the ambit of the Indian Railways. It had asked these units to partner with agencies like the Research Design Standards Organisation (RDSO) to develop products for export to foreign countries.
For the purpose of exports, the ministry clarified, that these units could make product in gauges generally not found on the Indian railway network, like Standard Gauge. It has also emphasized on building modern three-phase Metre-Gauge locomotives and diesel-electric multiple units (DEMU) as both these products have a high potential in certain foreign markets. The task is daunting. According to a senior railway official, all the production units put together earn about Rs300 crore from selling products to firms and countries apart from the Indian Railways, something the railways calls 'non-fare revenue'. Currently one of the biggest export orders with the railways is the construction of 120 LHB coaches for Bangladesh Railways. These coaches are being built at Rail Coach Factory- Kapurthala in Punjab. The plan is to get all the production units under the Indian Railways to have an export target of at least Rs500 crore including coaches for metro railway systems in India.
Suresh Prabhu's overnight Uday plan not a bright idea All the talk of new trains like Tejas, Humsafar, Uday and the like also have to be taken with a pinch of salt, agreed officials, several of whom have been associated with these moves in the past. "None of the design changes are out-of-the-box. They are something that you expect in every decade as part of natural progression for transport systems," said the official. The money spent by the railways on researching on fresh designs in the past few years tells the story. "While no specific allocation is made for research on re-design of coaches, under Plan Head Railway Research, around Rs2.81 crore were allotted by Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) in the last three years, (2013-14 to 2015-16) for development of various design related projects," minister of state for railways Manoj Sinha had told Parliament in reply to a query on May 4, 2016. The last major change the railways brought about in design was the introduction of the LHB coaches — the kind seen in the Rajdhani and Duronto rakes — under a Transfer of Technology (ToT) from Alstom-Germany, the first rake being introduced in 2002.
It might be an inheritance but Prabhu, by allotting low sums to Make in India projects like the indigenous 200kmph LHB rake being built at Kapurthala, is not gaining him brownie points either.
Suresh Prabhu talks green buildings, employees see Churchgate folly Construction and pace of projects "The pace has improved under Prabhu" is the consensus among officials DNA spoke to. Under the new mechanism, projects are being taken up after the completion of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) and detailed surveys are being carried out before approaching the Prime Minister-chaired Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) to get approval. Powers for tenders are now with the general manager of railway zones in most cases and the time taken for project approval, the railway claims has come down from 2.5 years to nine months. The railway ministry said that of the more than 8,800km of doubling was included in Railway budget 2015-16, 7,425km projects have already been sanctioned by the government.
Thanks to funds of Rs1.5 lakh crore expected to flow in over the next five years from the Life Insurance Corporation of India, the allocation for projects to states has also increased. For example, Maharashtra has got Rs4,767 crore for the year 2016-17, which is 206 per cent more than the average allocation during the UPA's reign between 2009-14. Similarly Andhra Pradesh for this year has got 148 per cent more, Chattisgarh 275 per cent, Jharkhand 238 per cent, Madhya Pradesh 354 per cent, Odisha 292 per cent, and Uttar Pradesh 207 per cent.
"The truth of these allocations will come out in a couple of years. Allocating money is one part but what is more important is to facilitate the work so that it can be completed in a particular time. That is still a grey area. Look at the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project. Its geo-technical preliminary works is expected to begin in December, which is a complete year after the MOU was signed between the railway ministry and Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA). In several other projects land acquisition and the like have played spoilsports. These have been bugbears that have not changed a bit from the times of the UPA government to the NDA government," explained a retired Indian Railway Service of Engineers official.
The railways claims to have commissioned 2,828 kilometres of tracks in 2015-16, the highest ever, against an average of 1,528kms in the UPA period between 2009-14. It completed electrification of 1,730 km of tracks in 2015-16 when compared to an average of 1,184km between 2009-14. However as an official cautioned, "These numbers can be misleading. Sometimes a slew of projects might get stalled during a particular period and then start getting completed in a particular period. That year would look very good in the books. However consistency is the key and if the railways can manage it for say another 3-4 years, then to say that the railways has picked up speed under the NDA would be justified," said an official.
The frontline, the face of the railways If the number of tweets about cleanliness at stations is anything to go by, then possibly Prabhu's is getting it right here. Some other out-of-the-box ideas like having young Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) officials as station directors of the 75 A-1 stations - the biggest of the stations on the network- is a smart move. "The aim is to have one pointsman for everything at a railway station much like an airport. Inside trains, there will be similar posts called the product manager and train superintendents. It is a beginning so that credit must be given to Prabhu. The test would be to see if the incumbents can actually cut through the strict hierarchy as well as departmental silo mentality and increase passenger comfort," said a top-ranking official.
Getting the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation to partner with private firms to upgrade and manage retiring rooms- most of them rundown at the moment- at stations is another positive step. Thanks to the exploding app world,smartphones and better network coverage, the railways — through IRCTC — has managed to bring better branded and better catering right at your seat.
"It will only get better as the e-catering process gets streamlined and more stations and trains come under its ambit," is the chorus at IRCTC. In the past two years, 240 trains have on-board housekeeping services (OBHS) as well with the aim to bring all important mail and express trains under the OBHS scheme in the next few years.
Upping the speed Another feather in the cap is the Mission Raftaar which aims at increasing the average speed of trains on the all-important Mumbai-Delhi, Delhi-Howrah, Howrah-Chennai, Chennai-Mumbai, Delhi-Chennai and Howrah-Mumbai routes. These six routes carry 58 per cent of freight traffic and 52 of all passenger trains despite having a share of only 15 of the track network, railway statistics show. To increase speeds on these six routes, the railways plans to use 1,048 faster Mainline Electrical Multiple Units (MEMU) trains and 136 Diesel-Electrical Multiple Units (DEMU) trains and replace several slower conventional trains. To achieve this target in three years, action plan has been drawn out to ramp up the production of MEMU rakes to 400-500 per year in next three years as against the present level 190 per year at present. It would be one of Prabhu's biggest challenges, but the start is a healthy one. The pilot project on the extremely congested Ghaziabad-Allahabad- Mughalsarai route has been successful. Nations like Japan, Spain, China, France, Germany Russia among others nations have been sounded for expertise. A new Directorate in the Railway Board to monitor shows minister's intent, point out officials.
Indian Railways is among the slowest in the world when it comes to major railway networks. While the maximum speed of passenger trains has increased up to 130kmph-160kmph, the average speed is hovering around 45kmph. While the maximum speed of freight trains has increased up to 75kmph-100kmph, but the average speed is hovering around 24kmph. In fact, the average coaching train speeds have declined by 1kmph in last five years and average freight train speeds have declined by 2kmph in last five years.
The Talgo experiment, heavily backed by Prabhu, might have been good for the papers but it doesn't mean much on the ground, say officials. "The Talgo is a rake that can run at speeds of upwards of 200kmph but managed only an average of 117.5 kilometres in its last trial on September 11. We have the LHB that can run at speeds of 160kmph. So there isn't much there between the two. What counts is how many of our tracks are fit for semi-high speed and high-speed. What we require is capacity addition in terms of faster tracks and faster trains in the next five years," explained an official.

  
1314 views
Nov 09 2016 (21:01)
srinivasvasanthi~   3844 blog posts   13 correct pred (50% accurate)
Re# 2054198-1            Tags   Past Edits
At least RM have to introduce additional train services in the highly under utilized sections or divert some trains in the under utilized sections to relieve the over capacity sections . He has not permitted for Just extention of trains for good patronages.
Moreover the failure of Airfares Suvitha have to be withdrawn since it diverts the regular rail users to Airways and Omnibuses.During introduction of Suvitha, informed that these dinamic fares tructures have been reviewed periodically and remedial action have been taken simultaneously. But no any tangible action have been taken in this regard, even though the Railway patronages are vastly diminished.

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