The dawn of 69th Republic Day of our nation was marked on Western Railway with flag hoisting by Shri A K Gupta, General Manager, Western Railway. He also inspected the ceremonial parade at WR HQs Lawn at Churchgate and took salute of the March-past.
Shri Gupta said that Indian Railways is all set to attain new heights with the development of High Speed Corridors. Western Railway is proud that Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi & Hon’ble Prime Minister of Japan Shri Shinzo Abe laid foundation stone for India’s first High Speed Rail Project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad in September, 2017 at Ahmedabad.
On this occasion, he also emphasised on moving towards a brighter and progressive future with emphasis on better and further improved services and convenience to the customers. Fulfilling the aspirations of travelling public for a faster and convenient train between New Delhi, the Capital of India & Mumbai, the Commercial Capital, a dual locomotive hauled new Rajdhani Express has been introduced as a special train.
Shri Gupta said that, in keeping up with the tradition of being pioneer in many fields, Western Railway has achieved another milestone by introducing the first Air Conditioned EMU service on Mumbai Suburban Section recently. In yet another first, 25 state-of-the-art Optical Character Recognition kiosks have been installed at five major suburban stations for easy printing of tickets, booked on UTS mobile app.Under ‘Project Swarn’, Mumbai -Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express has been given a brand new look with all refurbished coaches that are modern, aesthetic & equipped with more facilities. ‘Anubhuti’, an additional Executive class coach with aircraft like features has also been added to this train.
Shri Gupta said that with dedicated efforts, WR has been able to achieve a loading of about 58 million tonnes in this financial year up to December, 2017 which is 8.4 % more than the corresponding period of last year. The originating freight earning in this period has been approx. Rs.7576 crores which is 4.5% more than last year. Our total originating earning is approximately Rs.12054 crores which is 3.47 percent more than last year. We have been able to keep the Ordinary Working Expenses well under control so far this year. There has been a remarkable increase in loading of Cement, Food Grains, Iron & Steel besides Container traffic in the current year.
In keeping with ‘Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat Mission’, 1804 coaches have been fitted with Bio-toilets on our trains. Environment & Housekeeping Management (E&HM) ensures cleanliness, sanitation and general housekeeping. With addition of 54 more trains during the current year, 100 trains are now covered under ‘On Board House Keeping Services’ and 12 more are going to be covered shortly. All these trains are under Coach Mitra Scheme for immediate redressal of passengers’ complaints.
Shri Gupta also said that 12 new trains including 1 Mahamana, 1 Humsafar and 2 Antyodaya Express trains have been introduced in this year, which include one Passenger and 11 Mail/Express trains. Destination of 9 trains has been extended. In order to cater to the increased number of passengers during peak season, we have run 2140 Holiday Specials and provided approximately 5 lakh additional berths by adding 6830 additional coaches in various trains on temporary/day-to-day basis in this financial year. All passenger trains with 24 coaches have been provided with 4500 HHP WDP4D locos to maintain sectional speed and improve punctuality. He added that in the new suburban Time Table, we introduced 32 new services from 1st October, 2017, taking the number of services per day from 1323 to 1355 including 54 15-car services after twelve services were converted from 12-car to 15-car services, thereby increasing their carrying capacity by 25%.
It has been our constant endeavor to provide more amenities to our rail users. We have commissioned 17 Lifts and 6 Escalators at various stations this year for the convenience of passengers, especially Divyangs and Senior Citizens. 43 more Escalators will be provided. In order to fill up the gap between the requirement and the infra deficiencies, Western Railway has speeded up its infrastructure related works. Detailed action plan for improving amenities at stations is being implemented in phases. In view of safety & convenience of commuters, 5 FOBs have been commissioned at suburban stations in Mumbai in this financial year, while the work of 3 more FOBs has been completed and they will be opened soon for the commuters. The work for construction/ modification of 13 FOBs is under progress. Construction of 10 new FOBs and widening of 14 existing FOBs over suburban section of Western Railway has also been sanctioned on priority.
Shri Gupta said that with a view to provide quality food to our passengers, more than 4000 inspections were carried out by the teams of officers and supervisors at various mobile and static catering units during this year and Rs.82 lakh was imposed as fine on defaulting contractors.
He said that the country is moving towards realizing its vision for a cashless India. Western Railway on its part is contributing to achieve this goal. 888 Point-of-Sale (POS) machines have been installed at various PRS/UTS locations thus enabling 100 percent cashless transactions over 335 stations on Western Railway. The facility of booking railway tickets at ticket counters through Unified Payment Interface including BHIM application has been started as a payment option for PRS/UTS tickets on pilot basis.
Shri Gupta also emphasized on Safety. He said that duing the year, we eliminated 106 unmanned and 34 manned Level Crossings. 10 Level Crossings were interlocked, while sliding booms have been provided at 50 locations. State-of-the-art Electronic Interlocking has been provided at 13 stations. 11 Road Over Bridges and 55 Road Under Bridges have been constructed.
Shri Gupta was proud that WR has bagged 2 National Energy Conservation Awards instituted by the Ministry of Power in “Office & BPO Building” category for the Divisional Office Buildings of Rajkot & Bhavnagar. Out of 749 railway stations on Western Railway, 277 have already been provided with LED lights so far and the remaining stations will be provided by the end of this financial year. Solar Plants of 1077 kWp have been provided at various locations which will result in an estimated saving of Rs. 98 lakhs annually. We have been able to save Rs. 220 crore in our traction bills in first 8 months of this financial year by availing power through open access. In addition to this, a saving of Rs 48.21 crore has been achieved up to December, 2017 through regenerative braking in 3 phase EMU rakes.
In keeping with the tradition of achieving excellence in maintenance, Lower Parel, Mahalaxmi and Pratapnagar Workshops have got the ISO 3834 certification for ‘Quality Requirement for Welding’, as well as all workshops over Western Railway have already been ISO 50001 certified for ‘Energy Management System’ and 5-S certified for an organized safe, clean & efficient work place.
Shri Gupta was also proud of our Railway Protection Force who work round the clock for the protection of railway property as well as security of passengers. In this financial year, 404 theft cases of passengers’ belongings were detected. RPF reunited 796 runaway children with their families’. Leftover belongings of passengers worth more than Rs.1.36 crore have been returned to them in 1066 cases. For effective, reliable and real time communication, ‘Eyewatch Railways’ mobile app was introduced for the safety of women commuters of Mumbai suburban between Churchgate-Virar. In another breakthrough, in order to keep an eye on hawkers in station premises, subways and foot over bridges, a ‘Hawkers Prevention Mobile App’ has been introduced in Mumbai suburban section. Picture of hawkers along with location and time is sent to Central Control for taking suitable action by RPF.
Western Railway has inducted 232 personnel of Maharashtra State Security Corporation and 97 ladies home-guards for strengthening the security and well being of passengers in its suburban section. With this, the overall strength of Western Railways’ security network has been increased by 32% and number of ladies security personnel over Western Railways’ suburban system has almost doubled.
Western Railway has once again established its supremacy in the arena of sports by winning prestigious Kaul Gold Cup for the 25th year in a row. Shri K. Chinglesana and Shri Amit Rohidas were members of the Indian Team which won the 10th Men Asia Cup Hockey Championship held in Bangladesh. Ms Deep Grace Ekka, Ms Lilima Minz, Ms Namita Toppo and Ms Navneet Kaur were members of the 9th Women’s Hockey Asia Cup winning Indian team.
In the end Shri Gupta urged the railwaymen to gear up to make good the shortfalls and achieve the targets. He said that we have the tough challenge of completing all planned developmental projects and capacity enhancement works in time besides focusing on Safety and Passenger Amenities for our esteemed passengers. He was sure that all railwaymen would, as usual, rise to the occasion and strive harder with renewed zeal and dedication to attain the desired goals.