In my opinion, Indian cities urgently need rapid mass transport system for both goods and people movement. When China added approx. 1 lakh kilometers within short span. India’s investment in rail project is meagre. High speed bullet train in India is a distant dream for all Indian, which I think cannot be fulfilled for the next 30 years.
Picture credit Wiki
Indian railway is the major source of revenue generator for govt. of India and played a vital role in national integration, ensure mass goods and peoples movement, this sector is vastly neglected by Govt. of India and respective state governments. We cannot achieve a sustainable GDP growth while neglecting Railways. Railway is a vital components for India’s growth and national integration. Despite overcrowding and multiple growth of passenger traffic Govt. and railway authorities lagging behind making serious investment and improvement in this sector instead of a piece meal deal.
India needed to provide fast rail corridor for freight and passengers and need to triple from the existing railway infrastructure by adding more lines, providing additional trains, major improvement in passengers amenities considering the over crowded trains and fast growth of population. Like World Bank, IMF and other International financial institutions ready and willing to fund these railway projects considering the viability and sustainable growth and return of the project.
During season, it is very difficult to get confirmed ticket without agents/officials help despite standing in a long queue. The supply and demand ratio is much wider that 6:1. For every six person only 1 seat available. Railway authorities and Governments cannot run away from its responsibility. At present, Railway officials, agents/ tauts are making lots of money and a parallel mafia system is emerging. Railway is going back to old age system and people still standing in a long queues for hours to just book a ticket. To get a confirmed ticket, it is like winning a lottery. It is next to impossible now without the assistance of official/ tauts etc. despite country making higher GDP, globalization, information technology etc. That is more worried now is tauts openly challenging ordinary people standing on line and blocking them by sending their own men in a long queue. Most of them are criminals, goondas and various anti social elements.
The time has come to improve its carrying capacity by adding additional rack on all trains, start new long distance trains on a daily basis across India on war footing basis. It is undenying fact that Railway playing a major role in the growth of economy, ensuring mass transportation, fast goods and freight movement and the list are endless.
There are lots of improvements needed in the railways. Provide safety and security of passengers, their belongings, improving railway passengers amenities, clean an hygienic stations, provide safe drinking water, proper seating arrangement by providing stain free stainless steel chairs, provide CCTV connectivity in and around stations as well as in all trains.
Pic. credit Wiki
How it is going to make it possible without burdening the Railways. If there is a will, there is a way.
Many Net Worth Individuals, Corporate Houses, Big companies, NGOs, Charity organizations etc. are ready and willing to improve passengers amenities. But the hurdle is that Railway making bureaucratic approach and unwilling to accept such contributions. What Railways need to be done a special dept. to co-ordinate, implement and act as a facilitator rather than obstructer. A single window clearance system should be started. Those providing amenities can be allowed to display their name as a contributor of the particular facility. Today railway authorities not allowing to do the same. That need to be changed. For big display of advertising, railway also can be charged.
In this process, big companies largely benefited by discharging their “CSR” (Corporate Social Responsibility). It is a win win situation and beneficial to all stake holders and people at large. Companies, individuals can show their generosity towards social improvement and part of governance in a democracy. They also benefit by displaying their name to improve the product sale, reaching vast audience, creating brand value, reaching the large masses at a cheapest medium. For Railways, for improving amenities, railway need not spend a penny, it will be taken care of by above stated organizations/ individuals/ NGOs etc. Railway also can earn through advertising revenue from these companies apart from improving the basic dedicated infrastructure with proper upkeep and maintenance. Railway need not burden people by raising ticket and freight charges. The condition should be the property belongings to railway after a specified time frame. This idea can be roped across India. Railway should reach out to companies, corporates, bigger individuals, NGOs, trusts etc.
At the same time, in the interest of public at large, we are deadly against any kind of privatization and it is better it will be with public sector undertaking as on today. These kind of partnership can be done without loosing the railways right, title and interest. Railway should reject the idea of privatization of its property and before making any move from the part of government, Railway through this kind of innovative idea come forward to improve its amenities, save and earn the railways without burdening the passengers and hiking freight and tickets.
Another method of improving income for railways to improve all station building and part of the property should be given to short term lease rent basis to banks, offices and other businesses. But the ownership will be fully with the Railways only.
For all suburban trains all 9 cars should be converted to 15 car/ 18 cars. All long distance train should be added more racks especially 2nd Sleeper class and add more say 8 more bogies on each and every express trains. Additionally, many more trains need to put into services on daily basis to reduce the passenger traffic especially on season and earn more revenue. Unlike other countries, Railways growth in India never come down and there is widening demand and supply gap which needed to be narrowed down. Railway should lay more tracks and its basic infrastructure need better improvement and India should double its present railway line on a fast phase which should match with growth of Chinese Railways. The future of India is lying with Railways considering long traffic jam, clogging road, flight delays, irritating and expensive bus and other mode of services available.
Within next 3 years, India should have a fast bullet train matching with Chinese Bullet train. If we start a fast bullet train in India, the international perception about India and Indian railways will change. We have to prove that Indian railways are not lagging behind any other developed nation. Railway should prove “Yes we can”.
Needless to say that Railway playing a vital role in National integration which keeping unity and diversity of the states keeping the federal structure intact. Railways contribution is inevitable and in future railway should adopt regional unbiased approach to keep the spirit intact.
Railway should make a target 10 years for its overall improvement with yearly performance appraisal and make Railway No. 1 in the world, oven overtaking China considering our density of population. Only viable and cost effective project in India with earning of full income from the day one is only available with Railway. Not many other projects which should take note by the government and international financial institutions like World Bank and other financial institutions.
There are lots of such ideas, we can provide and it is a constant process and we are ready and willing to share such public spirited and refreshing ideas with railways as we are in constant touch with railway passengers and their day to day problems.
Let us hope that concerned Railway authorities take appropriate steps in this regard and a favourable quick action in this regard is highly appreciated in the interest of railways and public at large.