Freight Handling Issue Takes Centrestage at Railway Meet
Bhubaneswar (BBS): As operation heads of all zones of Indian Railways converged at Puri on Sunday to thrash out the strategies for traffic, infrastructure, capacity augmentation and logistics for 2015-16, East Coast Railways (ECoR) emerged with a news to cheer about at the end of the first day’s meet.
For, the zone came on top for handling the highest volume of freight in just-concluded financial year in the country. Of 1,091 million tonne freight handled by the Indian Railways, ECoR alone managed close to 15 per cent at 162 million tonnes.
Last year, ECoR had notched up second position among the 16 zones. Khurda Road Division has accounted for 101 million tonne of freight handling.
The two-day long all-India Railway operations and strategy meet is crucial in the backdrop of the report of Committee on Traffic Optimisation which was submitted to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on March 27.
The panel was constituted to identify bottlenecks for capacity augmentation and suggest measures to enhance traffic growth up to 15 per cent. In the last four years, the freight loading growth hovered about 4 per cent. The committee also suggested action plans for implementation by Zonal Railways during 2015-16 for optimisation of traffic output.
The meet, which was inaugurated by Member, Traffic of Railway Board, Ajay Shukla, discussed how freight handling from evacuation of coal, movement of iron ore and other minerals, metals, cement and foodgrains can be maximised by the Zones. Since Odisha is one of the bigger mineral-bearing States, ECoR’s strategies are also seen as very significant in the scheme of things.
A senior Railway official said the conference is crucial since it has bearing on growth of multiple sectors and different Ministries of Government and the outcome of the meet will be closely awaited. Besides, investment patterns, decisions on new lines, doubling and capacity enhancement, strategy for induction of new wagons, engines and electrification of crucial routes were also debated.
Shukla said the Zones have to keep in mind the ground realities for successful execution of planned projects so that targeted works are completed in time. Punctuality and safety of trains have to be given prime importance, he said.
Situation is very different from previous years as new directions have been given in this year’s Railway Budget which, he said, has seen a paradigm shift for Railways and things need to be streamlined accordingly.
Among others, Kundan Sinha, Additional Member, Traffic and A S Upadhyaya, Advisor, Railway Board also attended the meet which is being held for the first time in Odisha.