The current financial year has begun on a promising note for South Central Railway.
The Gross Earnings for the period April-July 2018 is Rs.4,773 crore, which signifies a robust growth of 12% over last year. During this period, we achieved 39 million tonnes of originating freight loading, which is 20% higher over the previous year. The originating Passenger traffic that we have carried between April–July 2018 is 131 million.
It has been our endeavour to ensure optimal Safety in train operations on a Zero tolerance basis. Due to our consistent efforts, no accident has been reported in the last two years. To strengthen safety, renewal of track to the extent of 69 kms has already been completed between April–July 2018 and a constructive plan has been made to complete the maintenance of Railway track on SCR’s network in a time bound manner. It is targeted to eliminate all the unmanned Level Crossings on the Zone by the end of September this year, replacing most of them with Limited Height Subways, which are being constructed in reasonably less time by adopting innovative concepts, even in adverse weather conditions, without hampering normal train operations. Efforts are also being made to eliminate manned level crossings in a programmed manner.
Security is another thrust area of SCR, with several steps taken to ensure that passengers feel protected during their rail travel. Integrated security system at Secunderabad, Hyderabad and Tirupati; surveillance cameras at 39 stations, escorting of 440 important trains by RPF and GRP personnel; deployment of women RPF personnel on MMTS; strong coordination mechanism with the State police and round the clock response on security helpline 182 has borne positive results on the Zone.
SCR has laid stress on Infrastructure development, as the window to growth. The works for construction of new rail lines, doubling, third line and electrification are moving at a fast pace. SCR has completed a record length of 113 km of railway line and 608 Route km of electrification during 2017-18. During the current fiscal, the Zone has set a very ambitious target of 573 kms of Railway line and 793 Route Kms of electrification for commissioning.
Railways hold the image for being a cost effective and convenient mode of public transport, leading to a continuous demand for new rail services. SCR is always responsive to these aspirations and has introduced 3 new trains: Lingampalli–Indore Humsafar weekly express, Renigunta–Mysuru Weekly express, Bidar– Kolhapur Weekly express besides extending six trains to new destinations during the current fiscal.
In tune with traffic demands, SCR has operated 977 special trains including 284 Janasadharan specials, besides augmenting regular trains with 3540 additional coaches between April and July 2018. The carrying capacity of 12 trains has also been permanently augmented by attaching 27 additional coaches.
The Zone is making best use of digital technology for enhanced convenience of rail users. A significant leap forward is the launch of upgraded Unreserved Tickets with Upgraded ‘UTS’ Mobile App on 16th July, 2018 for booking of unreserved tickets to cover SCR jurisdiction. Another user-friendly initiative is the printing of details on unreserved tickets in the regional languages too.
SCR remains in the forefront towards providing better passenger amenities and modern facilities to passengers, towards which an allocation of Rs.97 Crore has been made this year, a staggering 52% increase over the previous year. The stress is on aspects such as developing circulating areas, provision of additional platforms, extension of platforms and Platform covers. In tune with its stature as the most popular pilgrim destination in the country, Tirupati Railway Station is being developed to international standards, with the work scheduled to commence shortly. In addition, six more important stations over the Zone – Nellore, Guntur, Guntakal, Kurnool City, Vijayawada and Warangal have been identified for redevelopment. To enhance passenger comfort, we have embarked upon providing lifts and escalators at all major stations. As a result, 56 Lifts & 44 Escalators have so far been commissioned at 30 stations, while plans are in implementation to install 20 Lifts and 10 Escalators in the near future. For the first time on Indian Railways, Guntur division of SCR is implementing an innovative concept of supplying pure RO drinking water free of cost to passengers in 4 trains by installing RO plants in every compartment.
SCR is firmly carrying forward the "Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat" mission cleanliness campaign, continuing with its endeavour through the past 4 years. The Zone is geared
to undertake a fortnight long Swachhta Pakhwada, to ensure optimal cleanliness of railway station premises and trains. On-board housekeeping services continue to be extended and at present 72 pairs of express trains are covered under the concept.
Bio-toilets have been provided in 3346 coaches so far and the target is to ensure all coaches are covered by the end of the current financial year. Towards supply of quality linen, in addition to the existing 05 mechanised laundries available, SCR is establishing two more such modern facilities at Nanded and Vijayawada under BOOT model soon.
It is a matter of pride for SCR that, in the All India Third Party Survey report on Railway Station Cleanliness conducted by Quality Council of India and released by Shri Piyush Goyal Ji, Hon’ble Minister of Railways on 13th August, 2018, South Central Railway has been ranked at Second Position amongst all Zones on Indian Railways, bettering its earlier ranking of Fourth Position. Out of Top 10 Stations in ‘A1’ Category on Indian Railways, SCR has itself earned 04 ranks. Tirupati stands at 3rd, Vijayawada is at 4th, Secunderabad at 6th and Hyderabad is ranked 8th. Kacheguda too closely follows at the 14th Rank, thereby ensuring that all the three main rail hubs of Hyderabad city are amongst the best on Indian Railways. In terms of ‘A’ category, SCR has yet again proved to be a front runner, by earning 3 positions amongst the top 10 stations on Indian Railways. Warangal is ranked at No.3, Nizamabad at 6th and Manchiriyal stands at the 8th position. Credit for this achievement goes to the workforce of SCR, whose commitment towards enriching rail users convenience has enabled SCR attain this peak.
I am happy to inform you all that, SCR is the first Zone to become 100% LED lit by converting all light fittings at stations, service buildings and residential quarters, well before the targets set by Railway Board. This has resulted in annual saving of Rs.7 crore apart from reduction in CO2 emission by 7,300 tonnes per year. For harnessing of solar power, the Zone is installing solar plants through CSR activity and PPP mode on a large scale. In the last one year, 4 Mega Watt capacity of solar power plants have been provided enhancing the total solar power capacity to 6.5 Mega Watt. On yet another front, we have saved an amount of Rs.30 crore in the last financial year due to effective utilization of regenerative braking by the loco pilots in 3-phase locomotives.
Water conservation is core to SCR’s plans in promoting eco-friendly system. The Zone is a pioneer and the top ranked on Indian Railways in installation of rain water harvesting systems. A total of 17 old wells were rejuvenated, 1,274 rain water harvesting systems and 39 new ponds were constructed over the Zone, resulting in an yield of around 10 lakh litres of water per day with annual savings of Rs. 6 Crore.
Secunderabad Railway Station has earned the distinction of being awarded the highest "Platinum Rating Certification" as Green Railway Station by IGBC-CII, the first Station on Indian Railways to get this recognition. Another achievement for the station is the third prize received for beautification amongst all stations on Indian Railways. Exquisite Cheriyal Nakashi Paintings grace visitors to the station, conveying the priority being accorded to showcase local art and culture. Rail Vikas Bhavan, the headquarters building of Guntur division has also earned the "Platinum rating certification" as a green service building from IGBC-CII.
SCR considers employees as the core strength towards excellence and has always strived to enhance their professional skills. Top priority is being accorded to impart training relevant to their work area under ‘Project Saksham’ The Zone is in the process of implementing a new initiative – bringing various training institutes under one roof so as to offer a comprehensive single point "Multi-disciplinary Training Centre" facility. Another first-of-its kind initiative on Indian Railways is the Leadership Development Workshops being conducted for Officers of various levels on SCR in collaboration with Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. The Zone is in the process of filling up 9600 vacancies in the Assistant Loco Pilot, Technicians, Track Maintainers, Assistant Pointsmen and Helpers category through a centralized notification, which will substantially strengthen the human resource. In addition, recruitment of Sports Persons and Scouts & Guides is also being undertaken, while over 4100 slots are being filled up for Act Apprentice training.
SCR remains a pioneer in employee welfare initiatives. Continuing with this endeavour, the premises of Headquarters Employees Canteen at Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad has been renovated as "AKSHAYA" - Employees Lounge. The health aspect of employees and their families is covered by means of conducting various health check up camps and awareness programs continuously. To ensure best comforts for the running staff, 22 running rooms out of 48 on the Zone, have been air conditioned and it is targeted to complete the balance by March 2019. The International Yoga Day was celebrated on a massive scale, with the active participation of staff and officers.
I acknowledge the visible role being played by the SCR Women’s Welfare Organisation in undertaking various welfare-centric activities amongst the Railway families as also the outside society. Due credit also goes to the Civil Defence and Scouts & Guides personnel of SCR for their yeoman service. On the Art and Cultural front, SCR is recognised by its Lalitha Kala Samithi, which is one of the most active organisations in the region.
The pillar of SCR’s strength is the unity amongst the workforce and the congenial industrial relations that prevail. The active support of the recognised trade unions and associations has been instrumental in the Zone attaining several performance benchmarks.
The new financial year has commenced on a promising note for SCR. I am sure that this energy will continue to flow throughout the ensuing times, taking the Zone to greater heights of success. Let us all remain together, work together and achieve the best together.
Team efforts will keep SCR’s flag flying high.