Indian Railways eyes smarter, more efficient ways! In a recent interview with IE, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has said that while it is too early to make financial calculations of the impact of COVID-19 on Indian Railways, the national transporter is looking at smarter ways to operate. Goyal said that with the best of economies are seeing a resurgence or second wave of novel coronavirus pandemic, the Railway Ministry will have to wait and watch before doing their financial calculations. According to the minister, Indian Railways has a fixed cost, therefore there is certain stress which is associated with this period of fighting the COVID-19 crisis. The focus of the national transporter in this period has been the moving of foodgrains, coal, fertilizers as well as Shramik Special trains to their destinations, he said.
But, Indian Railways is simultaneously working through separate teams, on many of the initiatives which were started by the Railway Ministry before the COVID-19 crisis and some more initiatives which have been added by the ministry during the COVID-19 period, he said. The minister further said that he wishes to add more initiatives, more smart as well as efficient ways of working to make up for the losses of this crisis period.
The Railway Minister claimed that every single aspect, whether it is a freight train or Shramik Special train, is monitored thrice a day. So far, Indian Railways has already reached 70 per cent of its normal freight. For foodgrains, the national transporter almost did 185 per cent in this period. Indian Railways is also engaging with all stakeholders every day.
Besides freight trains, Indian Railways is running several passenger train services across its network during this lockdown period. From 1 June 2020, the national transporter started operations of 200 special trains on the Indian Railways network, in addition to the existing 30 Special AC trains as well as several Shramik Special trains. The newly added special trains are fully reserved passenger train services, consisting of AC/non AC coaches. The general coaches of these trains have reserved sitting accommodation for passengers.