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Railway Minister Inaugurates the 59th Annual Railway National Awards Function-2014 at Bangalore
The Minister of Railways, Shri D.V.Sadananda Gowda inaugurated the 59th Annual Railway National Awards Function – 2014 in Bangalore today. Also present among others on the occasion were Shri Arunendra Kumar, Chairman, Railway Board, Shri V.K.Gupta, Member Engineering, Shri Alok Johri, Member Mechanical, Shri A.K.Mital, Member Staff, Shri P.C.Gajbhiye, Secretary, Railway Board and Shri P.K.Saxena, General Manger, South Western Railway. Shri Gowda gave away National Awards for Outstanding Service – 2014 to a total number of 132 railway officers/staff from all over the country. The prestigious Govind Vallabh Pant Shield for the best overall performance amongst the best zonal railways and production units was bagged by West Central Railway (headquartered at Jabalpur).
Following is the text of the speech of the railway Minister:-
“I wish this function gives all our railwaymen an encouragement to work hard, work efficiently and work innovatively to bring smiles on the faces of our travelling passengers and our freight customers. In our rich and eventful journey of 161 long years, we have covered many significant milestones. The old has given way to the new and we have embarked on the path of modernizing every aspect of Railway operations. We are working on high speed rail corridors, on new designs of more efficient wagons, on the most efficient anti- collision devices like TCAS and TPWS, on new methods for ultrasonic detection of rail fracture to avoid derailments. We are progressing on dedicated freight corridor aimed at transforming goods movement in the country. We run superfast trains like Shatabdi and Rajdhani and are taking determined stride towards running High Speed bullet trains. We can boast of Engineering marvels like Jammu & Kashmir rail link and railway projects in North Eastern region; Computerized passenger reservation system and ticket booking through internet is getting a boost. In fact all aspects of Railway working, be it improvement in productivity, economy in expenditure, increasing railway earnings, curbing ticketless travel, improving operations, maintaining and improving the life of assets and aspects of security/safety, developing world class stations, completion of crucial projects – right from policies to processes and procedures have seen major initiatives and innovations these days.
Our new government at the centre got a thundering mandate from the people of India and under the leadership of our Prime Minister, Sri Narendra Modi ji, we have vowed to live up to their expectations. Indian Railways run more than 12000 passenger carrying trains and more than more than 7000 freight trains every day. What are required are not a few changes here and there but holistic planning and comprehensive measures that shall enable the Indian Railways to match the best in the world. We have to work in this direction on a day to day basis.
I am happy to share with you that many of the budget announcements are in various stages of implementation and remaining will have to be taken up within a month. Implementation of the budget announcements is strictly monitored. The performance of the Railways on almost all the parameters has been steadily improving as you can gauge from the improvements in efficiency parameters in the last 4 months. Indian Railways is making efforts to evolve new methods of resource mobilization. Recently during the talks of Hon’ble Prime Minister with Japan and China we have identified some mutual areas of cooperation with these two countries.
One of the major initiatives of our government is to permit foreign direct investment (FDI) in our railway sector to bring much needed investment in the railway infrastructure especially the big ticket projects like High speed rail corridor among others. Permitting FDI will facilitate foreign investors to compete for such mega projects, either on their own or by joining hands with domestic investors. This in no way leads to privatization of existing Indian Railways Network or its core activities. At the cost of repetition, it is made clear that the existing Indian Railways Network, its operations and its core activities will remain with the Indian Railways only and not open for privatization. This will also not affect the strategic role played by Railways in the national interest as well as its social obligations in any way.
In order to provide more hassle-free services to railway users, Indian Railways have launched new IT initiatives/applications developed by CRIS. It also meets Hon’ble Prime Minister’s dream project of Digital India. Next Generation e-ticketing (NGeT), Freight E-Demand system, Freight E-Diversion system, Go India Smart card, Train Enquiry Mobile App are few of the initiatives taken up by Indian Railways in the past 4 months.
We have taken a number of initiatives in the field of catering which is one of the major areas of complaints by the passengers. We have so far imposed exemplary penalties on 12 contractors for their lapses in providing quality food. We have strengthened our catering complaint no. 1800-111- 321. We have introduced on pilot basis precooked foods and e catering systems. We are planning a third p