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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Revenue down by 58%, Railways enforcing cost-cutting measures

The Railway Board has sent a detailed letter to various departments, urging them to review orders, contracts, review manpower requirements and bring down fuel and energy consumptions to curtail expenditure.

Written by Iram Siddique | Mumbai | Updated: July 6, 2020 2:50:25 am
maharashtra railways, maharashtra railways revenue, maharashtra railways cost cutting measures, maharashtra trains, indian express news Only a fraction of Railways services are currently running. (Representational)

With its revenue down by about 58 per cent due to the lockdown, the Railways is enforcing a slew of cost-cutting measures.

The Railway Board has sent a detailed letter to various departments, urging them to review orders, contracts, review manpower requirements and bring down fuel and energy consumptions to curtail expenditure.

The most recent measure, following the board’s cost-cutting guidelines, comes with the cancellation of replacement of dustbins in 30,000 Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches to save up about Rs 60 crore. Instead of replacing dustbins of 30,000 coaches, only about 5,000 coaches will be taken up internally by the Modern Coach Factory at the cost of about 1.78 lakh.

Similarly, a senior officer from the railway explained, “Every train has about 15 staff from different departments to look after cleaning, linen and AC maintenance. It is being worked out to have about 11 staff instead of 15 by training the staff in multiple areas and cutting down by at least 25 per cent.”

Railways, which spends close to Rs 1,200 crore on cleaning contracts, is reviewing its contracts in the wake of the lockdown wherein only a fraction of its services are running. “The cleaning shifts are to be reduced from three to two or one depending on footfalls,” advised the letter from the board.

In another letter recently to all zones, the Railway Board has put a freeze on creation of new posts. All posts created in the last two years and that remain unoccupied have to be surrendered.

A special multitasking committee has been constituted at the board’s level to review staff that can be trained to perform multiple tasks for their efficient utilisation. An official from Railway Board explained that the job of a personnel of Railway Protection Force (RPF) overlaps with that of ticketing staff of commercial department and is being reviewed to ascertain if one can do the job of the other.

The staff deployed at Public Reservation Systems (PRS) will soon be redistributed in other departments as 80 per cent of ticket bookings now happen online.

Meanwhile, to save up on fuel and energy consumption, “a diesel locomotive will now only be operated with prior approval from the General Manager”, said another senior railway officer. No spare parts for diesel locomotives will be procured and those beyond 30 years of age will be scrapped.

Railways is working towards increasing its freight load with various policy interventions, including a timetable service of good trains much on the lines of passenger trains to bring freight load that it has lost to road. The railways is also working towards increasing the speed of its goods wagons to 75 kmph. While relaxing restrictions on loading for ease of business, it has recently allowed loading from multiple points for goods.

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