CRB inspects Araku-Vizag section, visits recently restored Rail bridge, praises ECoR for generating more Revenue

Chairman, Railway Board Ashwani Lohani interacting with the Trackmen and Gangmen on the Railway tracks between Arku and Visakhapatnam on Wednesday during inspection

VISAKHAPATNAM: Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani paid a visit to the Waltair Division of East Coast Railway and undertook an extensive inspection of recently restored railway bridge in highest broad-gauge freight line of Indian Railways in Kottavalasa-Kirandul line, Visakhapatnam Railway Station.

Commencing his visit with the inspection of reconstructed railway bridge between Chimidipalli and Borraguhalu section of KK Line, the Railway Board Chairman inspected the newly constructed pillar, bridge span and approach.

He was impressed with the quality of work being done here and also lauded the engineers and staff for their dedication and commitment.  He interacted with the trackmen and gang-women in the section during his visit to the site.

During his inspection, the Chairman checked the maintenance of platforms, conditions in the waiting rooms, toilets, catering units, and circulating areas. He appreciated the quality of services being provided at the station and for maintaining cleanliness.

Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani going around the Visakhapatnam Railway Station on Wednesday

While interacting with the representatives of unions, associations and individual employees, he shared his feelings. He called upon the workforce to dedicate themselves in performing their duties, so as to take Indian Railways forward. During the inspection at Rail Dhaba, he launched BHIM app, which is an UPI (Unified Payments Interface) and accepts all digital payments (Credit cards, debit cards, wallets and net banking).

To promote the use of UPI, Raildhaba is offering discount of five percent on all payments done via UPI. UPI is an instant real-time payment system developed by National Payments Corporation of India facilitating inter-bank transactions.

The interface is regulated by the Reserve Bank of India and works by instantly transferring funds between two bank accounts via a mobile platform. UPI is built over Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) for transferring funds. Being a digital payment system, it is available 24X7 and across public holidays.

The Chairman appreciated the efforts by the division in making Visakhapatnam railway station as cent per cent digipay enabled station.

Reviewing the performance of the East Coast Railway Zone and Waltair Division, Ashwani Lohani, said that ECoR was playing a vital role in generating revenue to the Indian Railways.

Calling upon the officials to accord utmost priority to safety, punctuality and mobility, he said that these three aspects reflect the competence of railways. Passengers should travel comfortably and safely, he added.  He said safety of the passengers should be given top most priority and tracks should be checked regularly to avoid accidents.

The Chairman wanted the stakeholders of railways to be considered as partners so as to build up a common positive approach towards taking the railways forward. He assured all encouragement to the officers in their decision making and wanted them to work without fear. Umesh Singh, General Manager, East Coast Railway, made a PowerPoint presentation on ECoR’s performance and achievements and also on bridge reconstruction works.

The Railway Board Chairman was accompanied by Mukul Saran Mathur, Divisional Railway Manager, SK Sharma, Executive Director (CC), Railway Board, SK Purohit, Secretary to GM, ECoR during his day long schedule.

Stating that Visakhapatnam was in the first batch of stations selected for further beautification into a model station, he said they were still hopeful of getting land sought from the Visakhapatnam Port Trust for the ‘bulb line’ project to reduce congestion. He said they had already sanctioned a new express train from Visakhapatnam to Varanasi and indicated that they might consider plying direct overnight trains from Visakhapatnam to Vijayawada, Chennai and Bengaluru.

On the possibility of introducing a bullet train between Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada, he said now their focus was on completing the India’s first bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad in next five years. Divisional Railway Manager Mukul Saran Mathur earlier briefed Mr. Lokhani about the progress of various projects.

No decision yet on creation of new Railway Zone at Visakhapatnam, says Railway Board chief

The Ministry of Railways has not taken any decision yet on the demand for formation of a new zone with headquarters in Visakhapatnam, a promise made by the political parties during bifurcation in 2014.

“Status quo continues,” was the answer given by Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani when he had a brief interaction with reporters here on Wednesday.

He said the Ministry had to take a decision on creating a zone as it was an administrative matter. General Manager of East Coast Railway Umesh Singh, who was also present, said carving out a new zone, was a ‘political decision’ when asked to comment on the promise made at the time of bifurcation that the headquarters of new zone would be located in the city. Mr. Lohani said he was not aware of any objections raised by BJP leaders of Odisha to the formation of new zone as reported in a section of the press. During 2014 general elections, all parties, including BJP and TDP, promised to grant a zone with headquarters in the city.