Indian Railways, which has embarked on the path of Infrastructure growth to meet the demands of Rail Traffic on its network took rapid strides to cross new milestones during the last fiscal 2016-17 just ended. Acting on fixed targets envisaged by Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Minister for Railways, IR has been able to add significant strength to its infra pertaining to various aspects during the year.
Registering the highest ever expansion of its network ever since formation, Indian Railways has added 2855 kms of new Railway line, doubling of Railway line and Guage conversion during 2016-17. Of this, a record 953 kms of new Railway line has been commissioned during the fiscal.The highpoint is that the entire metre gauge system in the North East region has been converted to Broad Gauge. In terms of Electrification of the network , the target set for the year 2016 – 17 was 2000 kms, which was surpassed by attaining the completion of 2013 kms of Electrification during the year, which yet again is the highest ever achieved by Indian Railways for any fiscal.
Aspects relating to Safety also took centre stage during 2016-17. The emphasis on elimination of Unmanned Railway Level Crossings to negate accidents was very pronounced during the fiscal, leading to elimination of 1503 Unmanned Level Crossings, the highest number for any year. 1306 Road over Bridges and Subways were completed in the last fiscal, yet another record for the year. 484 Manned Level Crossings also were eliminated by means of construction of Road over Bridges and Subways. In terms of rehabilating Bridges to strengthen and enhance their life span and Safety, 750 such identified Bridges all over IR have been rehabilitated during the year.
As against the general average of 27 freight terminals getting commissioned during a financial year, the efforts synergized to develop more number of such terminals to add teeth to the freight traffic capabilities of Indian Railways borne fruit and a record ever 45 freight terminals have been commissioned in 2016-17. The rolling stock too showed a significant jump. In tune with the enhancing needs, 4280 Passenger coaches have been manufactured in 2016-17 which is sizeable rise over the previous years number of 3978 and also the highest for any fiscal on IR. Locomotives too showed a sizeable increase in manufacture. 658 locomotives have been manufactured in 2016-17, as compared to 621 in 2015-16.
An ambitious plan has been set in motion to ensure that the infrastructure growth on Indian Railways matches the requirement in the next few years. Towards this, the momemtum set in the last two years will be carried forward with all commitment. (NSS)