Union Budget 2018: Railways prepares for major technology boost

Railway Budget 2018 Know All About Rail Minister Piyush Goyal

The letters to the finance and the railway ministers by Shiv Gopal Mishra, General Secretary, All India Railwaymen's Federation, states the workers were "aggrieved" because "none of the budget announcements addressed their welfare" issue.

Referring to the signalling system, he said 100-year old technology was still being used by railways and this obsolete technology was responsible for delays during situations like fog. Rs 11,450 crore has been earmarked for track renewal.

He said the capital expenditure of the Railways for 2018-19 had been pegged at Rs 1,48,528 crore with a large part devoted to capacity creation, which involves 18,000 km of line doubling, third and fourth line works and 5,000-km of gauge conversion. Also, 4000 kilometres of lines will be electrified.

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For road infrastructure, the finance minister said the Bharatmala Pariyojana had been approved for providing connectivity to interior and backward areas and borders of the country by developing about 35,000 km of roads in Phase-I at an estimated cost of Rs 5,35,000 crore. "My target is to have CCTV cameras and Wi-Fi in all trains and all coaches", said the railway minister.

"While introduction of Wi-Fi, CCTV cameras, escalators are much-needed steps to allow the Railways to serve its customers better, up-gradation of the infrastructure through induction of modern train sets, world-class signalling systems is very much the need of the hour", Bharat Salhotra, Vice President (Sales and Business, Development), ALSTOM, Asia Pacific, told PTI. The following development comes in the wake of Elphinstone Railway Station tragedy that claimed several lives. Redevelopment of 600 major railway stations has been taken up, Mumbai transport system is being expanded, suburban network of 160 km planned for Bengaluru.

The Railways will end the fiscal with an operating ratio of 96 per cent, a negligible improvement from last year's 96.5 per cent.

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