New Delhi, Mar 1: Railways Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said Railways and coal together are the ‘Engine of New India’ and a focused approach of the Modi Government in last five years has materialised various projects for benefiting common man and the counry.
Addressing the media on the five-year achievements of the ministries under his charge here, Mr Goyal released a booklet highlighting the achievements in the Railways and Ministries in the past five years.
“There has been tremendous progress in last 5 years. Both, Ministry of Railways & Coal has taken up new projects at large scale & implemented them swiftly with an honest approach,’’ an elated Mr Goyal added.
Applauding the able leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Minister said his vision and leadership defines the success of any organisation and reiterated that the focused approach of the Government has led India in entering a new era of mobility with Vande Bharat Express - India's first high-tech, energy-efficient, self-propelled train.
This is a prime example of the success of Make in India movement, the Minister added.
This train will be proliferated across India and also exported globally.
Mr Goyal also pointed out that the Ahmedabad-Mumbai High-speed Rail (HSR) will revolutionise the transport sector in India through speed, safety and service.
Besides the Make in India benefits from the HSR project, Railways is creating large scale employment and economic development through sanctioned projects in Latur, Maharashtra; New Bongaigaon, Assam; Lumding, Assam; Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh and Sonipat, Haryana, he said.
'Setting records for Indian Railways, Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh has successfully executed world’s 1st ever conversion of diesel locos into electric loco to enable Mission Electrification.
In the past five years, the Government has made safety the foremost priority of Railways. It has achieved its best ever safety record in 2018-19 - there has been 81 per cent drop in number of deaths from 152 in 2013-14 to 29 this year (upto Jan 31, 2019). This is a result of holistic efforts,' Mr Goyal said.
'Laying the foundations of infrastructure for a New India, there has been a quantum leap in capital expenditure. Total capital expenditure between 2014-19 is Rs 5.1 lakh crore which is more than double of total expenditure during 2009-14,' he said.
‘’Railways is connecting India at a faster pace with a 59 per cent increase in the average pace of commissioning New Line, Doubling, third and fourth line projects from 4.1 km during 2009-14 per day to 6.53 km per day during 2014-18,” said Mr Goyal.
Aspirations of the people of North East were fulfilled with completion of 4.94 Kms long Bogibeel Bridge, longest rail-cum-road bridge in India. Now, journey from Itanagar to Dibrugarh is only 180 Kms, reducing the travel time from 24 hrs to only 5 hrs, he said.
'Commuter travel in urban India has been given sufficient attention. Bangalore Suburban System is being developed with ongoing projects worth more than Rs. 15,700 cr. This will benefit about 15 lakh commuters. Mumbai Suburban Systems is also being modernised with ongoing projects worth more than Rs. 70,000 crore which will benefit about 75 lakh commuters,' he said.
Railways has embarked on transitioning to sustainable rail transport with a six times increase in electrification from 610 RKM during 2013-14 to 4,087 RKM during 2017-18. 100 per cent Electrification of Broad Gauge Routes of Indian Railways is targeted by 2021-22.
It has achieved significant milestones in moving the country’s economy faster with the highest ever freight loading in 2018-19 and Freight earnings have touched their highest level and is expected to be about Rs 1.43 lakh cr in budget year 2019-20.
Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC) are gateways to India’s superfast growth and development. First sections of Eastern DFC (Bhadan to Khurja, 200 Kms) and Western DFC (Rewari to Madar, 200 Kms) have been completed.
Railways is improving passenger services including a complete makeover of Stations by installing modern facilities including escalators, lifts, free wifi.
Beautification of 65 stations has been completed using local art. Railways has improved trains and coaches including launching the Tejas, Antyodaya and Humsafar trains and Deen Dayalu and Anubhuti coaches.
Connecting passengers to the digital world, high speed WiFi service has been provided at more than 800 stations. Pan India rollout of paperless Unreserved Ticketing (UTS) has been done to make ticketing convenient and hassle free.
Catering has also been a focus area with compulsory printing of MRP on all food items and use of artificial intelligence to monitor food production in base kitchens for improving quality and hygiene.
Offering its tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and contributing to Prime Minister’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, Railways has paid attention to hygiene with efforts such as record installation of Bio-toilets, third party independent surveys and integrated mechanized cleaning.
Indian Railways is also playing its part in promoting tourism and providing a wonderful experience to tourists.
Recently launched Rail Drishti dashboard encompasses all the digitisation efforts in Indian Railways and promoting transparency and accountability. It brings information from various sources on a single platform.
India’s first National Rail & Transportation Institute has been launched with 1st academic session started with two undergraduate programmes - B.Sc. in Transportation Technology & BBA in Transportation Management with 103 students and Rs. 421 crore has been sanctioned for next 5 years.
Recognising the significance of empowering and upskilling the Railways family, various steps have been taken including delegation of powers. Historic recruitment drive is being undertaken with 1.5 lakh vacancies being filled and in future 2.3 lakh individuals will be recruited over next two years.
Digital initiatives for bringing transparency and accountability to Railways business practices was also hailed.
Highlighting Coal Ministry’s achievement, Mr Goyal said Coal powers the million aspirations India entered a new era of mobility with Vande Bharat Express - India's first high-tech, energy-efficient, self-propelled train. This is a prime example of the success of Make in India movement. This train will be proliferated across India and also exported globally.
The Ahmedabad-Mumbai High-speed Rail (HSR) will revolutionise the transport sector in India through speed, safety and service. Besides the Make in India benefits from the HSR project, Railways is creating large scale employment and economic development through sanctioned projects in Latur, Maharashtra; New Bongaigaon, Assam; Lumding, Assam; Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh and Sonipat, Haryana.
He also told reporters that setting records for Indian Railways, Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh has successfully executed world’s 1st ever conversion of diesel locos into electric loco to enable Mission Electrification.
To ensure energy security, reduce imports and realise the vision of 24x7 Power for All, Coal India has enhanced drilling, production & offtake of coal. 105 MT increase in coal production since 2014 took almost 7 years to achieve before 2013-14.
Production target of Coal India is 610 MT in 2018-19. As a result of record performance, number of coal plants with critical stock is only 4 out of 125 (as on 20th February, 2019) compared to 2/3rd coal plants with critical stock in 2014, the Minister added.
Further, to boost the power sector, superior Coal Quality has been ensured with steps such as third party sampling procedures and 100 per cent crushed coal to power plants.
Coal India is also delivering benefits of reduced cost of electricity as now amount of coal required to generate per unit of electricity (specific coal consumption) has been reduced by 8 per cent since 2014.
Brining the spirit of reform to coal sector, Commercial Coal Mining, the most ambitious reform in Coal Mining after Nationalisation in 1973 was introduced. This will reduce import dependency and bring energy security through assured coal supply. Further, transparent e-auction and allocation of coal blocks has led to successfully auction of 85 coal mines.
Rationalisation of coal linkages has led to total rationalisation of 61 MT with annual potential savings of about Rs. 3,651 crore (till date).
Railway Board Chairman V K Yadav, other members, Secretary, Ministry of Coal Sumanta Chaudhuri and senior officials of were present on the occasion. (UNI)