PMO directs Rail Ministry to work in a Mission Mode – advances the deadlines of projects

PMO appreciates the best punctuality performance registered by Western Railway followed by South Central Railway!

NEW DELHI: Peeved by the tardy progress of some sectors in the railways, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed the Ministry of Railways to “work in a mission mode rather than on incremental progress”.

At a meeting with Railways, the PMO has finalised and in some cases advanced the deadlines of projects like that of achieving punctuality by next month end, couple of them to be completed by year end and other important projects like commissioning of Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) by March 2019.

Sources said that the Prime Minister, at the backdrop of several apprehensions regarding Bullet Train, also took stock of the situation of Indian Railways’ ambitious projects like the High Speed Mumbai Ahmedabad corridor and redevelopment of some of the chosen railway stations which includes one in his home State Gujarat.

The Prime Minister was more concerned about the delays of passenger trains and has directed the national transporter to put trains on time on the tracks by October 2018 under the railways “Mission Raftar”, a project conceived by PM himself during the tenure of Suresh Prabhu as Railway Minister.

As per the latest report the trains on Delhi Howrah route registered a dismal punctuality performance with North Central Railways Zone recording only 42.11 percent. The Zone accounts for dropping of the average punctuality figures of entire railways. The best punctuality performance (PP) has been registered by Western Railway at 99.9 percent followed by South Central Railway.

While most of the other Zones PP oscillate between 74-79 percent, the Central Railway and South Eastern Railways hovers around 86 percent. Northern Railway which receives maximum number of trains with important stations like New Delhi under its jurisdictions, has faired compared to neighbouring NCR and has recorded 62 percent punctuality performance (PP).

Sources said that the PM has also sought details by this month end pertaining to the ideas and projects deliberated during the two Chintan Shivirs which was attended by the Prime Minister himself. Another significant aspect discussed by the PMO was rationalizing of the passenger and freight fares and to generate revenue from non-fare sectors like the national transporter properties like land, station buildings etc and for which a deadline for December 2018 has been set up.

Railway Ministry sources said following the PMO meeting, very soon a decision on the controversial flexi fare in premium trains is to be taken which might bring a big relief ahead of the festive season to rail passengers.

Other issues discussed in the meeting last month has a timeline till the end of this fiscal which includes many infrastructure development projects which had a deadline of June 2019 and beyond. Sources said that the PM also discussed over restructuring of the Railway Board and to improve upon the legacy of the national transporter.