In a boost to rail infrastructure, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has inaugurated a host of projects worth over Rs 1,000 crore related to passenger amenities and upgradation of facilities at various stations across the country.
Dedicating 88 rail projects in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal through video conferencing, Goyal highlighted the fact that efforts are on to make Indian Railway future-ready.
While inaugurating the rail projects, including footbridges, video surveillance systems, easy access to Divyang passengers in platforms among other passenger facilities in Kerala, Goyal said that it’s important to improve connectivity in the state which is a keeper of Indian heritage.
“Our effort is that we give a big lift to the infrastructure to the railways in Kerala. We give a boost to the facilities connecting Kerala with the rest of the country. We ignite more economic activity in the area and transform the railway network through the state of Kerala. The budget being allocated for Kerala is continuously increasing year on year. We are committed to having a vibrant railway network across Kerala in the days and months to come,” he said.
In Kerala, footbridges have been provided at three locations at a total cost of Rs 9.56 crore at Kollam, Kundara and Kochuveli. These footbridges will enhance the mobility of passengers and ease crowd dispersal at these important stations.
Facilitating ease of access to platforms and concourse areas, particularly for senior citizens, the sick and divyang passengers, lifts have been provided at Kanhangad and Aluva at a total cost of Rs 1.60 crore.
In order to reinforce safety of passengers at railway stations, state-of-the-art video surveillance systems have been installed at 15 locations at a total cost of Rs 9.45 crore.
With the Central monitoring system based at Chennai, railway stations such as Alleppey, Aluva, Chengannur, Ernakulam Town, Kayamkulam, Tiruvalla, Kottayam, Badagara, Kannur, Kasaragod, Palakkad, Tirur, Thalassery, Kanhangad and Payyanur will be equipped with video surveillance systems.
At two stations in Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram Central and Thrissur, airport-type illumination of covered platforms has been provided at a total cost of Rs 42 lakh.
This will enhance the passenger experience and help make the journey a memorable one.
Platform raising works have been completed at Tanur at a cost of Rs 1.39 crore for ease of boarding and deboarding of passengers, especially the elderly and divyangjan.
As an energy efficient and power saving measure, 100 Kwp solar plants have been commissioned in Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram at a cost of Rs. 42 lakh.
Inaugurating rail projects in Tamil Nadu, Goyal said, “We are committed to making Tamil Nadu railways a fully electrified network so there is no pollution. We have doubled the speed of electrification in the last 6-7 years. In the next 2-1/2 years, the entire rail network of the state will be electrified.”
“We are also constructing the first ever vertical bridge, Pamban bridge, which will connect the Ram Setu and give pilgrims visiting Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi easier access in that region. We have done 100 per cent LED lighting in all the railway stations and service buildings in Tamil Nadu,” he added.
It also boasts of the first Green Corridor, a 114 km stretch from Rameswaram to Manamadura. It is India’s first green Railway corridor. On 17 February, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off a new weekly train which will connect Chennai to the Statue of Unity, bringing Tamil Nadu closer to the Iron Man of India in Kevadiya.
“Indian Railways is adding the third dimension to Tamil Nadu’s development. So now, instead of the double engine of the Central and State government of Tamil Nadu working as partners in progress, we have a third engine provided by Indian Railways,” he added.
For the convenience and safety of passengers, footbridges have been provided at 10 locations in Tamil Nadu at a total cost of Rs 23.32 crore at Ambattur, Arakkonam, Elavur, Mambalam, Mettupalayam, Tiruppur, Gangaikondan, Kadayanallur, Nagercoil, and Vanchi Maniyachchi.
These footbridges will enhance the mobility of passengers and ease crowd dispersal at these important stations, minimizing the chances of mishap.
To enable hassle-free access to platforms and other areas of railway stations, escalators have been commissioned at six stations in Tamil Nadu, namely, Egmore, Mambalam, Tambaram, Tiruvallur, Erode, and Thanjavur at a total cost of Rs 16.61 crore.
Lift facilities at a total cost of Rs 2.38 crore have been provided at Coimbatore Jn and Nagercoil Jn railway stations. These escalators and lifts will immensely benefit senior citizens, divyangs and sick passengers, among others.
For better surveillance of railway stations, video surveillance systems that take the aid of cutting-edge technologies, have been provided at 18 locations at a total cost of Rs 10.01 crore.
Video surveillance systems have been installed at Chengalpattu, Thiruvallur ,Erode, Salem, Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Mayiladuthurai, Thanjavur, Villupuram and eight other stations in Tamil Nadu with a Central Monitoring System in Chennai.
At various other stations in Tamil Nadu, improved passenger amenities have been provided at a total cost of Rs 4 crore — multi level two-wheeler parking at Katpadi, double discharge platform at Guindy, second entry circulating area and booking office at Arakkonam, PRS centre and station building at Nagercoil Town and passenger convenience facility with ATM complex at Madurai, to mention a few.
While inaugurating rail projects in Karnataka, Goyal said, “Today, I pay tribute to late Shri Suresh Angadi for exemplary work he has done for Railways and for the state of Karnataka.”
Today, doubling of track from Gubbi to Nittur, which may seem like a small stretch, is part of a larger vision to double the railway line from Arsikere to Tumakuru on the Bengaluru-Hubballi line.
The larger project between the Londa and the Miraj 186-km project will be completed in the next two years.
The Raibag railway station has also been provided with amenities and all of these projects put together will provide a catalyst for Karnataka’s progress and economic development.
The Indian Railways is committed to improving all the railway facilities in the state. The suburban railway in Bengaluru also will transform the transportation in the state of Karnataka and for the people of Bengaluru to which the Government of Karnataka and Indian Railways both are very committed and working in partnership through the K-ride, a special purpose vehicle set up between Indian Railways and Government of Karnataka, he said.
Several other projects in Karnataka are being done to improve the facilities and ensure a happy experience for all passengers. Integration of the metro services of Bengaluru with the suburban railway is also being tried.
Doubling of lines between Gubbi-Nittur (9 Km) stretch is part of the doubling project between Arsikere and Tumkur (96 Km) on the Bengaluru-Hubballi line between Tumakuru and Arsikere.
The Arsikere and Tumakuru project was sanctioned in 2015-16 at a cost of Rs. 783 crore. Doubling of railway track in this section will increase line capacity of important lines connecting Bengaluru to Hubballi, Belagavi, Mumbai etc., traversing all interior districts of Karnataka.
The section between Gubbi and Nittur has been doubled at a cost of Rs 75.5 crore.
Along with doubling, two major bridges and 15 minor bridges have been constructed.
Additional passenger amenities have been provided at Gubbi and Nittur railway stations. Platform shelter, high level platforms, footbridges, toilets, benches and water booths have been constructed at Gubbi and Nittur along with doubling.
Doubling of lines between Chikkodi and Raibag (14 Km) stretch is part of the doubling project between Londa and Miraj on Hubballi -Miraj line between Londa and Miraj.
Londa and Miraj (186 Km) doubling was sanctioned in the year 2015-16 at a cost of Rs 1,191 crore. Once this project is completed, it will give impetus to rail infrastructure in Belagavi district.
A new station building has been provided at Raibag station along with the doubling with upgraded passenger amenities.
Two new platforms, one footbridge, circulating area, AC waiting hall have been provided at Raibag station. Handling of train operations has been optimized with provision of the latest signalling system and indigenously developed state-of-the-art electronic interlocking.
While inaugurating rail projects in Madhya Pradesh, Goyal referred to this year’s budget 2021-22 introduced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman which has made allocation of Rs 7,700 crore for different railway projects in Madhya Pradesh.
A big solar power plant is coming up in Rewa. Indian Railways is committed to electrifying its entire network by December 2023 and all trains either passengers or goods will run on electric traction and will eventually reduce pollution in centrally-located Madhya Pradesh.
In the next series, Indian Railways will be able to run its entire network with the use of renewable energy by 2030 and will be the world’s first biggest railway.
This is also the vision of the Prime Minister to give convenient facilities to passengers. Now, most of the trains are running with LHB coaches. Safety is improved.
After March 2019, no passenger death occurred in railway accidents in the last 22 months. Indian Railways is determined to contribute to the country’s progress. This year around Rs 2,15,000 crore investment Indian Railways will bring historic progress in the sector.
To provide convenience to Divyangs, elderly and ailing passengers, three lifts have been installed in the platform no. 1,2/3 and 4 of Gwalior station at the cost of Rs 92 lakh.
Moreover, to modernise Gwalior station, Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd. has undertaken redevelopment work. Under this redevelopment, Gwalior station is being converted into a world-class transport centre to give better travel experience to passengers.
This redevelopment will give a boost to tourism, generate employment and will give rise to socio-economic development.
Presently, trains are being run by diesel engines in this 189.46 km rail section which requires extra time to change locomotive from Ratlam.
After electrification of this section, trains will be run by electric locos with high speed without hindrance.
Electrification of Ratlam-Chittorgarh section will save diesel and will contribute to green energy. Conversion from diesel to electric traction of this section will also save Rs. 27.54 crore per year. This electrification has been done at a cost of Rs. 205.44 crore.
Teegaon to Chichonda 3rd Ghat line (17 Km) project which has been categorised as super critical, has been completed and commissioned in December 2020.
It has a ruling gradient of 1 in 65, sharpest curve is 4.95 degree, maximum depth of rock cutting is 22.75 metres and maximum height of bank is 16.13 metres.
The commissioning of the section involved major yard remodelling at Chichonda and Teegaon. Due to steep gradient, catch-cum-slip siding has been provided at Gudankhapa and Teegaon yard. Commissioning of this project has helped to augment more trains in the ghat section.
Provision of lifts at Betul and Pandhurna stations will help the Divyangjan, senior citizens and other passengers to go from one platform to the other easily.
During the event, Goyal also flagged a passenger service from Rewa to Itwari.
For West Bengal, Goyal inaugurated various infrastructure development and passenger amenity related works in North Bengal.
Speaking on the occasion, he said, “Railways is serving the nation in an extraordinary way. Railways has taken it upon itself to contribute to the mission of Sonar Bangla. Railways would be fully electrified in three years in West Bengal and all on-going projects will be completed at the earliest.”
He also added that North Bengal is beautiful naturally; development of this region would attract more tourists. Indian Railways is committed for holistic development of the region.
Various dignitaries were also present on this occasion at different locations.