Traveling to Howrah and Mumbai from Delhi may soon take lesser time with the railways Wednesday planning to bring down by five hours the travel time between the busy routes with an investment of about Rs 14,000 crore in infrastructure over the next four years.
The proposal to shorten the time in the Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai routes rail travel has been sent to the Cabinet Committee for Economic Affairs for approval. This is a part of a 100-day plan, with instructions to initiate immediate action to implement them by August 31. The project is proposed to be implemented within four years from the date of approval.
According to the proposal document, the railways has set a target to ramp up the speed of the trains on these routes from the present 130 kmph to 160 kmph.
The two routes account for 30 per cent of passenger and 20 per cent of freight traffic. Presently, the fastest train on the Delhi-Howrah route takes 17 hours to complete the journey while on the Delhi-Mumbai route the quickest train takes 15.5 hours. The proposal is to reduce the travel time to 12 hours and 10 hours respectively.
The document, a part of the 100 day-plan being prepared by union ministries on the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, lays down the vision for the national transporter for the next three months.
It states that within the next 100 days approval should be obtained for projects to raise to 160 kmph the speed of the New Delhi Howrah route (1,525 KM) at a cost of Rs 6,684 crore and the New Delhi-Mumbai route (1,483 km) at Rs 6,806 crore.
The document also lists 10 other targets for the railways which need to be initiated within the next 100 days. One of them is the railways’ version of the “give it up” scheme which was introduced by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal for encouraging people to give up their subsidies on train tickets. This includes other concession holders to offset its nearly Rs 33,000-crore subsidy burden in annual passenger fares. Many senior citizens had in fact given up their subsidies on travel tickets.
The railways also plans to launch a massive awareness campaign which would run across media platforms and inside running trains to encourage people to give up their subsidy voluntarily.
The 100-day plan also includes railways’ earlier proposal of handing over certain routes to private players. It has been proposed in the document to invite private operators to run two of its trains and also some routes which have low congestion and connect important tourist spots can be offered to them through Request for Proposal (RFP) and a Request for Quote (RFQ) within the next 100 days.
The document has also proposed that within the next 100 days, cabinet approval be obtained for digital corridor for railways with provision of 10 MHz spectrum in 700 MHz frequency band for railways which would enable it to increase trains carrying capacity due to increase speed potential, improve operation during fog and improved security.
Other 100-day proposals include: wi-fi at all 6,485 railway stations including 4,882 balance station in the next 100 days; obtain approval for elimination by 2023 of 2,568 level crossings on golden quadrilateral diagonals with assured 100 per cent funding of Rs 50,000 crore from the government; an advanced signalling system; redevelopment of 50 railways stations in 100 days and restructuring of railway board and technological revamp.
(Inputs from PTI)