Around 6,000 railway stations will be WiFi-enabled in the next six-eight months, Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal said. Speaking at the ‘Smart Railways Conclave’ organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here, Goyal said that the railways was focusing on smarter project implementation.
“We believe that if we have to leverage digital technology, the basic ingredient is to ensure access to technology in the remotest part of the country. The railways is working on a programme to ensure the last mile connectivity wherever we do not have fibre optics in our network. We are hopeful that in the next six-to-eight months, all railway stations, other than the halt stations, about 6,000 stations will be WiFi-enabled,” he said.
He said that the national transporter will have to start thinking, planning, and working smartly. “I think that’s the change that you would have seen the last four years,” he added. On punctuality of trains, the minister said that between April 1 and today, punctuality has improved to 73-74 per cent as the railways has made a change by replacing the manual recording of time by station masters with data loggers placed at interchange points across the network that ensure computer generated time.
“We are working on putting a GPS device on every locomotive so that we will have every train marked on mobile phone, knowing exactly where they are.” He also said that the railways was embarking on making itself efficient in a big way which will save $2 billion every year, which otherwise would have to be passed on to the passengers.
“With efficient railways, we won’t have to burden the poor,” he said. On the occasion, the minister and other dignitaries released two knowledge papers, namely ‘FICCI-EY Report on Make in India in Railways Sector’ and ‘FICCI-AT Kearney Report on Technology: Transforming Railways Transportation’.