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Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu advocates major push for complete Digitalisation of Indian Railways

The conference focused on building a road map for transforming the Indian Railways into a completely digital enterprise

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Indian Railways , Wikimedia

New Delhi, March 27, 2017: Advocating major push for complete digitalisation of the Indian Railways, Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday said the move could prove to be a game changer as it would result in saving billions of dollars.

Prabhu said a holistic approach for digitalisation of the Railways in partnership with the IT industry would benefit both the Railways as well as the vendors who partner with it in different spheres.

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“We are working on an integrated, comprehensive strategy to leverage information technology for improvements in systems and processes, and to enhance efficiency,” Prabhu said at a conference on “Building Digital Railway for Digital India” here.

The conference focused on building a road map for transforming the Indian Railways into a completely digital enterprise.

“It (complete digitalisation) will be a game changer if the Railways can save six billion dollars by investing two billion dollars,” Prabhu said.

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The minister, however, warned that cyber security should be kept in mind while going for digital platforms.

The Indian Railways One Information and Communication Technology (IR-OneICT) Platform is an initiative to enable Indian Railways to deliver goods and services in tune with the demands by creation of logistics and transport capacity enabled by digital platform.

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It aims to use digital technology to better connect the goods and services with the market.

“The better capacity and asset utilisation would mean helping Indian Railways in running more trains, carrying more freight, providing better and reliable services to the passenger, increased revenues and safe operations,” a government statement said. (IANS)

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Will India be able to travel in the Bullet Train Soon? Yes, Say Railway Officials; Indian Railways Target Completing the Project Before the August 2022 Deadline

The foundation stone for the Rs 1.08 lakh crore ($17 billion) 508-km Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet Train was laid in Ahmedabad by Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on September 14

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Bullet Train
Railway Board Chairman held a high-level meeting in Rail Bhavan last Thursday which was attended by Japanese Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu, and Niti Aayog Vice Chairman. (representative image) Wikimedia

New Delhi, November 10, 2017 : Unfazed by opposition criticism, Indian Railways is working overtime to push ahead with the much-talked about the “Bullet Train” project, aiming to complete it ahead of the August 2022 deadline set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani, who has a reputation of a turnaround man, has taken up the task of monitoring and chairing the periodic review meetings of the project that is estimated to cost over Rs 1 lakh crore ($15 billion).

Lohani held a high-level meeting in Rail Bhavan last Thursday which was attended by Japanese Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar, Central government officials, Principal Secretary-rank officials of Gujarat and Maharashtra, officials of NHSRCL (National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited), officials of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the General Manager of Western Railway.

A senior railway board member, requesting anonymity, told IANS, “The railways is in no mood to delay the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train project. Lohani will now hold a review meeting once every three months… And even on weekly basis, if required.”

Emphasising on the government’s intention, the official said, “The attendance of the Niti Aayog Vice Chairman, the Japanese Ambassador and the CRB in the review meeting is a clear signal that the government is taking the project seriously and there is no scope for any delay.”

“The CRB wants Indian Railway officials to take lessons from their Japanese counterparts about meeting deadlines,” he said.

The opposition has attacked the government for taking up a project at a huge cost instead of focusing on safety, a dire need of the time, and on schemes to improve passenger amenities.

The official said it was also decided at the meeting that “a road map for consultancy and civil engineering works will be prepared by January 2018”.

A ministry official associated with the Bullet Train project said a report on the signalling system and electrical reports would be ready by April 2018. According to him, the tracks and most of the signalling system would be brought from Japan.

The foundation stone for the Rs 1.08 lakh crore ($17 billion) 508-km Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet Train was laid in Ahmedabad by Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on September 14.

Of the Rs 1.08 lakh crore, Japan is giving a loan of Rs 88,000 crore at a minimal interest of 0.1 per cent for 50 years. And the repayment will begin only after 15 years.

The railway official said that to encourage the Prime Minister’s ambitious ‘Make in India’ programme, “an appeal will be made to Indian and Japanese companies to make use the opportunity to work together”.

Meanwhile, the officials of the government of Maharashtra and Gujarat assured the railways of their help in land acquisition and smooth shifting of raw materials to construction venues.

A three-level monitoring committee was also constituted, including the Vice Chairman of Niti Ayog and Special Advisor to Japanese Prime Minister.

A working group led by Managing Director of NHSRCL Achal Khare and consisting of representatives of the ministries concerned, and the representative of JICA, has been formed. Besides the two committees, a technical expert committee led by the Managing Director of NHSRCL has also been formed.

Of the 508 km stretch, 92 per cent (468 km) of the route will be elevated, six per cent (27 km) will be in tunnels and the remaining two per cent (13 km) will be on the ground .

The high-speed train would also pass through the country’s longest tunnel of 21 km, of which seven km will be under the sea.

Twelve stations have been proposed that include Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati.

The distance will be covered in two hours and seven minutes if the train stops at four stations — Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Mumbai. If the train stops at all 12 stations, it will cover the distance in two hours and fifty-eight minutes.

According to Railway Ministry officials, the operating speed of the bullet train would be 320 kmph and the maximum speed would be 350 kmph.

 

(Editorial note : This article has been written by Anand K. Singh and was first published by IANS. Anand can be contacted at can be contacted at anand.s@ians.in)

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Over Rs 50,000 Crore Spent on Rail Safety till August 31

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Indian Railway
A Passenger Train in India. Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 24: The government on Tuesday said it has spent over Rs 50,000 crore out of a total outlay of Rs 1.31 lakh crore on rail safety in this fiscal.

The government has planned a capital expenditure outlay of Rs 131,000 crore for railway safety in 2017-18, of which it spent Rs 50,762 crore till August 31, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa told reporters after a Union Cabinet meeting.

The government in its Budget this year announced a special safety fund of Rs 1.31 lakh crore for Indian Railways.

Lavasa said the pace of laying new railway tracks had been hastened from 380 km in 2014-15 to 953 km in 2016-17. (IANS)

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Indian Railways sends an ‘Utterly Butterly’ Sweet Reply to Amul on Twitter

Indian Railways has once again won the hearts of many with their swift reply to Amul India on Twitter

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Indian Railways
Twitter has become one of the most preferred medium of communication in recent times Wikimedia

The Indian Railways has an active presence on Twitter and passenger woes are often attended and addressed via the micro-blogging website.

But for the first time, the Indian Railways received a unique tweet addressed to its name.
India’s most famous dairy giant Amul reached out to the Indian Railways and tweeted their business proposition to the Railways, seeking permission to use their refrigerated parcel vans to transport Amul butter to different parts of India.

Indian Railways
Amul coop requested Indian Railways for permission to use their refrigerated vans via a tweet. Twitter

The Indian Railways had made the refrigerated parcel vans’ service available a few years ago with an aim to allow the transportation of presumable products such as vegetable, fruits poultry products, etc.
The service is available on selective routines, however, the refrigerated parcel vans are supposedly lying defunct.
The Indian Railways promptly responded to Amul’s business proposal in the most cheek-in-tongue manner and won hearts once again!

Indian Railways
Indian Railway’s reply to Amul. Twitter