Incidents of train collisions have come down to zero in 2018, while cases of derailments have decreased from 78 in 2016-17 to 46 in 2018-19. This was stated in the Economic Survey 2018-19 presented by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament on Thursday.
Elucidating on the Freight and passenger performance of Indian Railways, the Survey states that Revenue Earning Freight loading (excluding loading by Konkan Railways) during 2017-18 was placed at 1159.55 million tonnes, as against 1106.15 million tonnes during 2016-17, registering an increase of 4.83 per cent, with incremental loading of 53.40 million tonnes over 2016-17.
The Economic Survey added that in 2018-19, Railways carried 1221.39 million tonnes of revenue earning freight showing an increase of 61.84 million tonnes over the freight traffic of 2017-18 and translating into an increase of 5.33 per cent. There is an increase of 2.09 per cent the number of passengers carried by Railways during 2017-18 as compared to 2016-17 and 0.64 per cent increase in 2018-19 as compared to 2017-18.
Regarding Mission Electrification program, Economic Survey states that Railways has initiated a major electrification program for electrifying 100 per cent of its Broad Gauge network to reduce the nation’s dependence on imported diesel oil. As on 1 April, 2019, Railways has 35,488 Route Kilometre (RKM) of network commissioned on electric traction which constitutes 51.85 per cent of total network and carries 64.50 per cent of freight and 53.70 per cent of coaching traffic. The pace of electrification accelerated and a total of 38,000 RKM has been identified for electrification by 2021.
The Economic Survey 2018-19 pointed out that the ‘Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat’ mission of Indian Railways focuses on cleanliness. As per the swachh rail portal, ‘Beas’ station ranked first in India in the case of cleanliness among ‘A’ category stations and ‘Visakhapatnam’ tops the list among ‘A1’ category stations. Indian Railway has also made sincere efforts in the area of energy and water conservation and there is an increasing competition among stations to obtain “Green Rating”.
Similarly, Indian Railway has also encouraged Green Certification of Workshop and Production Units through Green Industries Certification in collaboration which Confederation of Indian Industry. So far 10 Railway Stations, 34 workshops and 4 production units have been green certified by CII, The Economic Survey 2018-19 adds.
The Economic Survey also says that being a cost-effective long distant transport mode, Railways has witnessed commendable progress. In order to provide safe, secure and comfortable journey to passengers, Indian Railways has taken numerous steps such as provision of lifts/escalators, plastic bottle crusher machines, mechanized cleaning and housekeeping etc. at major stations.