NAIR suitable to be made into a Railway varsity, says Manoj Sinha, MOS (Railways)

National Academy of Indian Railways (formerly Railway Staff College), Vadodara where the proposed Railway University is being planned to be set up by Centre
National Academy of Indian Railways (formerly Railway Staff College), Vadodara where the proposed Railway University is being planned to be set up by Centre

Vadodara: Vadodara-based National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR) may be upgraded into a Railway University even as the Centre works on setting up four Railway Universities across the country as proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year with the aim to train manpower for the Indian Railways.

Human Resource Development ministry is looking into every aspect of converting NAIR – an institute set up in Vadodara in 1952 to train officers of various departments into management and technical aspects of the Indian Railways – into a university, Minister of State for Railways, Manoj Sinha, said in Vadodara on Friday.

“Prime minister Narendra Modi had declared setting up of four Railway Universities across the country not just in India but also abroad. The institute, where we are currently holding the press conference (the NAIR), is most suited to be converted into a Railway University and a subsidiary of the HRD ministry is already looking into this,” Sinha said, while addressing a press conference.

Earlier in March, Sinha had said while replying to questions in Rajya Sabha that NAIR will be upgraded into a Railway University. A Railway University will be the first-of-its-kind in the country, offering railway-specific courses modelled on universities already existing in China, which has already proposed to co-fund and handhold India’s first railway university.

Spread across 55 acre land in the historic Pratap Vilas Palace and built in 1914, the NAIR provides training and management development opportunities to newly-appointed railway officers and other senior officers. It also offers training to officers of other services of central government, PSUs, and those from foreign railways. The infrastructure of the academy is also being expanded with a new hostel building, new mess, a lecture-theatre building, and a new guest house currently under construction. Sinha laid the foundation stone for an additional and modern sporting complex which will house badminton, squash, gymnasium, billiards, and other facilities.

Speaking further, Sinha said that with 5,250 kilometres railway network, Gujarat has an average 8.71 kilometres railway network per net population, much higher than the national average of 5.44 kilometres. He said the state has received much higher fund allocation for new railway lines, double line, gauge conversion, and overbridge-underbridge construction during the 2015-16 budget than before.

Rs 140 crore has been allocated for new lines, Rs 2,336 crore for double line, and Rs 882 crore for gauge conversion during 2015-16 budget, compared to Rs 105 crore for, Rs 572 crore, and Rs 139 crore, respectively, during the last budget. The tender for Rs 130-crore service station for 100 electric locomotives, which will come up at Dabhoi, has also been released and work will soon start, he said.

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