TODAY -

What ails Indian Railways

RN Malik *



Indian railways (IR) is a behemoth organization of India. Daily, it runs 8000 trains in different parts of the country and employs 15.o lac people. Only Indian Army comes close to it's omnibus size. Administrative structure of IR also resembles somewhat that of the army but the discipline , dedication management and planning of army is not there.

Unlike army IR is intimately connected with the life of the common man as 8 million people travel by trains daily. Train journey is considered faster, more comfortable and hassle free than the bus journey.

But lack of basic facilities and punctuality makes bus journey more popular these days. There was a time when 70 percent passenger and freight load was carried by IR and 30 percent by buses and trucks. Now the ratio has been reversed.

Presently IR suffers from following deficiencies-:

1. Late arrival of trains, particularly the long distance and passenger trains.
2. Poor sanitation level in non A. C. coaches and their toilets and along the railway tracks.
3. 55% tracks being grossly under-utilized. For example, hardly two passenger trains and run on newly laid Rohtak-Rewari and Sonepat -Jind lines. Same is the fate of Narwana-Kurukshetra line.
4. Saturation capacity has reached full on important routes like Delhi-Kolkata line leaving no scope for running new trains.
5. Great paucity of funds to accelerate the execution of ongoing and new projects. Recently members of Railway Board told the Consultative Committee of M. P. s that it would take decades to complete the ongoing projects if the low rate of fund allotment continues for ever.
6. 6.60% railway tracks need to be both electrified and doubled. Presently rate of electrification of tracks is fast (4000kms per year) but that of doubling the tracks is slow.
7. Operational cost being 96 percent of revenue receipts because of low fares particularly in passenger trains. The financial loss in running passenger trains is Rs. 35000 crore annually.
8. Lack of innovation in the design of light material coaches and high efficiency engines. Running of Metro type trains on railway lines will prove very popular.
9. Existence of Missing links in connecting two nearby main railway lines.
10. Inability of States to run trains in their own territories.

IR could have been a big engine of growth but for the aforesaid deficiencies. Things will improve once two freight corridors are completed and commissioned by December 2021.

How IR can become an engine of growth-:

Transport system is undoubtedly the backbone of economy. Railway is considered the best system of transport because of three clear advantages.

1. Trains consume less energy (50 percent) because of low coefficient of friction between the wheels and the rails.
2. Unlike buses and trucks, trains can run with electricity. Electric supply is available adequately in the country but the crude oil has to be imported at a huge cost thus putting heavy strain on foreign exchange reserves. Imagine the saving in consumption of oil if 80 percent freight and passenger load being carried by trains.
3. Carriage of freight load by trains is hassle free as there are innumerable complaints of overloading and stoppage of trucks at interstate barriers.. A recent study indicates that corruption involved at barriers is Rs. 47000 crore annually. Drivers these days are known to indulge in high-handedness with the transporters because of shortage of good drivers and most of them indulge in drinking during the journey.

Presently most States do not have a widely spread railway network. If you glance over the Railway Map of India, you will find that Maharashtra state is the least covered. In Holland, the railway network is so well spread that people either travel by trains or by personal cars.

If all the states are crisscrossed with wide railway networks, IR will become the big engine of growth and able to carry 80 percent of freight and passenger load and provide lot of opportunities of employment and setting up ancillary units.

Inefficiency in IR-:

There are three factors that make IR an inefficient body. These are centralized administration, low fares and not presenting its own budget since 2016.

a) Centralized administration-:

Presently Ministry of Railway operates the entire network of trains with the help of Railway Board. States have not been given any role. They cannot run any train even within their own territory though IR proposes to run 150 private trains. Ideally States should be allowed to manage the railway net work within their respective beats and IR should run only interstate trains.

States can set up their own corporations and IR can provide training and consultancy during the initial stages. Look at how States have started laying metro rail lines of their own. For that matter, principle of running trains should based on the assumption as if India is a European Union where each country is having it's own independent system of railway network.

But IR is not ready to transfer this responsibility to States and cut down it's flab. Otherwise granting authority to States to manage the railway network in their respective beats would become the greatest reform in IR. If States are allowed to build and operate their own network, then four deficiencies mentioned at the start will be mitigated. Firstly missing links will be provided.

For example, a missing railway link of 25 kms between Delhi-Bhatinda main line and Sirsa-Rewari main line at Barwala will help Haryana Govt. to run direct train between Sirsa and Chandigarh. Total length of such missing lines may no be more than 2500 kms.

Secondly, States will be able to lay their own new lines from their own budgets more quickly. Thirdly the competition between carrying passengers by buses and trains will be reduced. Fourthly, ticketless travelling will be reduced to zero.

b) Low fares-:

As stated earlier, IR is incurring a loss of Rs. 35000 crore annually due to very low or negligible fares in passenger trains. Fares of mail trains in ordinary class too are comparatively low. For example, the bus fare between Delhi and Chandigarh is Rs. 220 against Rs. 85 in the mail train.

Besides this, IR charges only for 8 tickets in a month from the pass holders. . almost a free travel. Ticketless travelling is another cause of revenue loss. These problems will be totally mitigated if States are allowed to manage railway network in their beats.

c) Need for Separate Railway Budget.

Before 2016, IR used to prepare it's own budget and present it in the Parliament. This practice was abandoned for unknown reasons and deprived IR of two advantages. Firstly IR used to make a brainstorming exercise to prepare a sound and detailed budget clearly explaining the features like total budget outlay, revenue receipts, capital expenditure details and other details like new trains etc.

Now public does not know anything about these details and consequently, transparency is gone totally. Thirdly M. P. s also have been deprived of the opportunity to comment and make good suggestions on the working of IR.

Freight Corridor Projects-:

IR is executing two freight corridor projects that consist of two dedicated new railway tracks I. e. Ludhiana --Kolkata on N-E side and Dadri-Mumbai on S-W side. These tracks will be used exclusively for running goods trains at a high speed of 100 kms per hour thus reducing the travel time by 60 percent.

Presently goods train run at an average speed of 28 kms per hour. Also existing tracks will be relieved of goods trains thus giving further scope for running additional fast passenger trains. The projects are likely to be completed by 2021. Now Sh. Piyush Goel, the Minister for IR has suggested to construct another dedicated railway line along the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway.

Replacing thermal powerplants with Renewable energy power plants-:

These days there is a talk of replacing thermal power plants located away from coal-heads with renewable energy power plants to reduce carbon foot printing. This project has great bearing on IR. This is because 80 percent of freight load carried by goods trains consists of coal carried from coal mines to thermal power plants located in different States.

This will reduce the running of goods trains by equal percentage and will relieve the existing railway lines of the run of goods trains and allow running additional mail trains thus increase the carrying capacity of passengers.

Bottomline

IR will be able to revolutionize the transport system and boost economic growth if it improves or reforms it's working by getting rid of existing deficiencies mentioned at the start of the article. Sooner it is done the better.


* RN Malik wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on March 23, 2020.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Bishnupur during Lockdown [Apr 5] : Gallery
  • Covid-19 Status 06 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Reality of Korean Pop or Hallyu Wave
  • Illegal detention of YFPHR members
  • Amidst Sorrows and Hopes :: Poem
  • Mentality matters to fight COVID-19
  • Plight of stranded north-east workers in city
  • Measures taken up to check COVID-19
  • Betel leaves traders should not be let free
  • Relief Camp @Chassad - Mar 17 : Gallery
  • Betel leaves seized @Imphal Apr 4 : Gallery
  • Covid-19 Status 05 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • During the invasion of Covid-19
  • Surviving in the time of COVID-19
  • PM's 9 pm diya deciphered
  • Disguise :: Poem
  • Switch off lights call of PM
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #2 : Gallery
  • Items distributed in Bengaluru : Gallery
  • Covid-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Helpline Number for Students/ people from NE
  • Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic
  • His Call to the Nation
  • Enchanted Riches Land :: Poem
  • Fresh lease of life in NERAMAC
  • Naga Peoples Front Communique - [Apr 4]
  • Yes we can fight COVID-19 invasion
  • Chassad village Arson- Mar 17 : Gallery
  • Status Update 03 April : Govt of Manipur
  • A Panic-Stricken Crowd :: Poem
  • Covid-19: what ails one, ails us all
  • PM's Statement on COVID-19 [Apr 3]
  • Manipur BJP Statement [Apr 3]
  • Appeals to Prevent Forest Fires
  • FIR asisu handokkadabani
  • Message from Nagaland Opposition [Apr 3]
  • From Nationwide lockdown to what else ?
  • The virus respect no religion
  • Mr. Khadang - Film Scenes #2 :: eRang
  • Status Update 02 April: Medical Directorate
  • Thotsang, Chao Sai, Makanmi: eMing
  • Muslim- one of most misinterpreted community
  • Stop Xenophobia against North East People
  • Essential Commodities Shops - Bishenpur
  • Beneath all that Darkness :: Poem
  • 17 in Assam, two in Manipur
  • Ode to the silent angels
  • Shopping - 30 March #2 : Gallery
  • Status Update 01 April: Medical Directorate
  • Drug users during COVID-19 pandemic
  • Reflections in the shadow of Covid-19
  • An absolute sacrifice
  • Report Clarification : Govt of Manipur [Apr 1]
  • Schools to remain closed beyond 31st March
  • Construct Quarantine centre at Koirangei
  • Pledges Rs 50 crore to PM CARES Fund
  • Fresh hotspot in Delhi's Nizamuddin
  • New findings on character of Coronavirus
  • Wars, Devastation & events in Kakching #2
  • COVID: Janata Curfew -Mar 22 #2 : Gallery
  • Support to stay home and pray
  • Racial prejudice against NE people
  • 'Release prisoners on bail/ parole'
  • Music Video 'Live Your Life' released
  • Donation to CM's Covid-19 Relief Fund
  • Farmer Producer Companies to collect
  • Heed the lockdown call
  • Health Advisory needs to be reviewed
  • Shopping - 30 March #1 : Gallery
  • Status Update 30 March: Medical Directorate
  • Stop Hate in the Time of Corona
  • April Calendar for Year 2020 : Tools
  • Manipuris stranded in State : Nodal Officer
  • Mask distributed at Kumbi
  • Nothing spreads like fear
  • Letter to Prime Minister on Racial Attack
  • Lockdown : Ensuring food for all
  • Covid-19: Manipur Strategy to Prevent & Win
  • Status Update 29 March: Medical Directorate
  • Covid-19 or Racism, which one to fight first ?
  • MHA to Chief Secys of States [Mar 29]
  • Home Delivery- Imphal Dists [Mar 29]
  • Shop List opened - Bishenpur [March 29]
  • Violating anti-defection law
  • Why PM want Leishemba to be RS MP #2
  • Manipur Govt Orders [28 March] : Gallery
  • Status Update 28 March: Medical Directorate
  • Medical material airlifted from Delhi to Imphal
  • Coronavirus Combat; not just Govt's fight
  • Lack of availability of Medicines, Water..
  • Research to plug gaps in COVID-19 testing
  • RIMS areas disinfected - [March 26] : Gallery
  • Status Update 27 March: Medical Directorate
  • Manipur Govt Orders/Directives : 27 March
  • FEGOCTA donate 1 Day Salary to CM's Fund
  • Cure for COVID
  • What a respect to the caregivers !
  • Charity Mission Committee on COVID-19
  • NH7 Weekender : Online music festival
  • Lockdown amid curfew
  • PDS rice to CMHT excluded Keishamthong?
  • Curfew in Imphal - [March 24] : Gallery
  • COVID-19 helpline numbers in Manipur
  • Screening at Mao [Mar 20] : Gallery
  • COVID 19 & Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897
  • Decoding Tax Jargon through March Ending
  • NPF urged Nagaland Govt on COVID-19
  • Food items to Child Care Institutes
  • Hand rub bottles manufactured & distributed
  • Studying the total shutdown in Manipur
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Social Distancing observed [Mar 25] : Gallery
  • An appeal to all on COVID19
  • What is love ? :: Poem
  • Career option in Geomagnetism
  • Kohima gets a brand new song
  • Communique on Covid-19 : Nagaland Oppn
  • CM Covid-19 Relief Fund created
  • 12 on board flight with patient quarantined
  • Quiet celebration of Cheiraoba
  • Quarantine started- Mao -Mar 24 : Gallery
  • Leikai Public curfew -Mar 24 : Gallery
  • Stop stigma of Covid 19 +Positive Friends
  • Media : Essential services during lockdown
  • Acts of Kindness, Unity among Communities
  • Racist attacks on people from North-east
  • A friend in need is a friend indeed
  • Enforce total lockdown in Nagaland :: NPCC
  • Ugly response to positive case of COVID-19
  • First Case in Manipur
  • Lamphel Nawa Kombirei at Cheiraoba
  • Woman returned from UK has Coronavirus
  • Screening at Mao - Mar 22 : Gallery
  • Why PM want Leishemba to be RS MP #1
  • Janata Curfew - 'Go corona' festival
  • Panacea for Economic Collapse: COVID-19
  • Total Lockdown till March 31st
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba - Meitei New Year Day
  • Giving racial twist to coronavirus
  • Need action to those mocking PM
  • COVID: Janata Curfew -Mar 22 #1 : Gallery
  • Manipur Govt Orders - Mar 22 : Gallery
  • Status Update 22 March: Medical Dir Lamphel
  • We will get by. We will survive.
  • Covid-19: Impact in Manipur :: Photos/News..
  • War against Corona
  • What ails Indian Railways
  • Appeal to Govt during COVID 19 crisis
  • Hats off to the men in white
  • COVID-19: Ima Keithel -March 21 : Gallery
  • Bandh on March 21 : Gallery
  • Social Justice & Democracy in Northeast
  • Sociology of Coronavirus
  • COCOMI extended help to victims of Chassad
  • The Omnipresent Fear :: Poem
  • MU Chemistry Dept makes hand sanitisers
  • COVID-19 : A blessing for Khwairamband
  • Wakching Thagi Sanarei #2 :: eRang
  • Who will rebuild Chahsat village ?
  • The untameable :: Poem
  • Importance of Fish & Fishery in Manipur
  • Challenges for female entrepreneur in India
  • The Killing Fields 2013-20 : News Timeline
  • How well prepared is Manipur?
  • More seriousness needed to fight COVID-19
  • Khongu NangGi Baasi :: Shumang Leela
  • Yaoshang Fancy Dress #1 : Gallery
  • Journalistic Challenges in Reporting Chassad
  • Paneer Our Daughter's Delight
  • Civil Site Engineer / Site Manager
  • Architectural Designer at R-Square
  • Research Officer - Financial at Amethyst
  • Chinky to Coronavirus: Racial profiling chain
  • Promises, prosperity, Rights & Responsibility
  • Wars, Devastation & events in Kakching #1
  • When Chassad Blazed Our Hearts Burnt
  • Nagas entering final phase of power struggle
  • Climate change & predator : Any link?
  • Restore Chassad village to normal condition
  • The other side of Covid-19
  • Is Manipur taking adequate steps?
  • Silencing the voice of dissent
  • Dzukou Valley, Senapati #3 : Gallery
  • Condemns the burning at Chassad Village
  • Conduct fact finding mission at Kamjong
  • Lost at the edge of uncertainty!
  • Global Youth Peace Conclave postponed
  • Entrance exams after 10 + 2
  • Workshop organized on Einstein's birthday
  • Titular King in the race for RS
  • Coronavirus, H1N1 & garbage in Imphal
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand : Timeline
  • Yaoshang Sports Meet #2 : Gallery
  • Restoring Chassad- the village with no house
  • Manipur Maharaj & House of Lords
  • COVID-19 : Hand sanitizers at Bangalore
  • Appeal to install Covid-19 test in Nagaland
  • Communal violence & over-lap ethnic aspiration
  • Understanding Ponzi scheme
  • Yaoshang Halankar #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sports Meet #1 : Gallery
  • Nano Technology in Bio Organic Fertilizer
  • Joydev Thongam: Story behind the muscles
  • COVID-19: Agent to end Economic Globalisation
  • Cannabis in HIV and AIDS
  • Is society gender-sensitive enough ?
  • Day light Thabal Chongba #1 : Gallery
  • Intl Women's Day @ Imphal : Gallery
  • International Rivers Day at Kangoi Area
  • Getting workplace ready for COVID-19
  • A Tale on Yaoshang :: Poem
  • India's improving journo-murder index
  • But Leishemba should also act politically
  • Yaoshang Marathon @ Singjamei : Gallery
  • Wangkhem Rezia : Success Stories NE
  • Guwahati Music Festival #2 : Gallery
  • A Beautiful Mind :: Poem
  • Of Purity and Arrival of Spring
  • Fr Biju Michael - Salesian South Asia
  • Yaoshang Cheng Khaiba : Gallery
  • Saroi Khangba @ Khwairamband : Gallery
  • Intl Women's Day @ Bangalore : Gallery
  • Women's health & nutirition - A glance
  • Yaoshang Rock @Sagolband :: Gallery
  • MOU - Guest House at Mandalay :: Gallery
  • #VOLUNTEER4HEALTH launched at Delhi
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba :: Gallery
  • Festival of Holi- Brahma Kumaris concept
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa @ Kangla :: Gallery
  • Health Camp at Pune :: Gallery
  • International Women's Day at Bangalore
  • Universal access to sexual health services
  • Health Camp on Women's Day at Pune
  • More employment for our politicians
  • Gender Resource Centre in Agriculture
  • Entry points at Indo-Myanmar border sealed
  • Peace rallies urge PM for early Naga solution
  • Reversing masculinization of India's workforce
  • Torch Rally: Journalist Sports: Gallery
  • Politics of South China Sea Disputes : Book
  • 1st Barak Festival @Senapati: Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2020 #1: Gallery
  • Phisakol - Film Scenes #2 :: eRang
  • yeniHTa :: Seireng
  • Yaoshang Thabal Peisa donation: Gallery
  • World Meetei Convention @Cachar : Gallery
  • 13th Mega Marathon Manipur #3 : Gallery
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Wakching Thana Lakpada #2 :: eRang
  • Students @ Class XII Exam #2 : Gallery
  • Bangladeshki Sana Tampha #1 :: eRang
  • Manipur Legislative Assembly Building : Gallery
  • Eepan Thaba -birth ceremony : Gallery
  • Coronavirus prevention @ Moreh : Gallery
  • SPONSORED ADS