By Dinesh Kumar Kotha,
The once-in-a-century challenge COVID-19 posed to humanity has fundamentally altered every sector of the Indian economy. However, the Indian Railways (a crucial public utility) has emerged amid this crisis as a beacon of optimism and public service. In addition to enduring this current storm with incredible resiliency, India’s multi-layered and massive railway network boasts its robust post-pandemic strategy. It has been following a systematic, sensitive, and organized approach to public needs. This article will shed light on how Indian Railways is preparing to provide passengers a completely different experience in the post-pandemic era.
Indian Railways is making a multitude of efforts, such as mechanized cleaning, Clean Train Station scheme, cleanliness drives, and awareness campaigns, to keep its coaches (especially the restrooms) clean. To improve waste management, they have begun to supply dustbins to non-AC coaches, as opposed to solely offering the facility to AC coaches earlier.
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Reduced Train Delays
There has been a significant improvement in the arrival times of trains. The signaling system is continuously being updated to an automatic block system, which has incredibly improved the speed of trains. Moreover, proper synchronization of timetables and doubling of tracks has also reduced delays and slowdown of trains.
Indian Railways has introduced a new style of railway coach (the Post-COVID Coach) in response to the spread of the coronavirus to ensure safe and secure travel. For COVID-free passenger travel, the Post COVID Coach offers design upgrades like hands-free facilities, copper-coated handrails and latches, plasma air filtration, and titanium dioxide coating.
Prompt Complaint Redressal
There has also been a paradigm shift in how complaints are handled in Indian Railways. Any complaints by passengers are not only taken seriously but also addressed promptly. Even complaints received on Twitter are receiving prompt action in no time.
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To enhance safety, Indian Railways have deployed more than 2000 Anti-Collision Devices (ACD) over 2700 route kilometers of track. It is a completely integrated electronic control system created to reduce collisions and improve safety on the rail system. This safety device will continue to be widely used on the Indian Railways’ balance BG network.
Running Of SHRAMIK Special Trains
The COVID-19 pandemic and related shutdown had placed millions of migrants’ lives and livelihoods on hold. Many of them yearned to return immediately to their homes and towns. Addressing this requirement, the Ministry of Home Affairs directed the Ministry of Railways to coordinate with individual state governments to set up an emergency special train service, known as SHRAMIK Special Trains.
Speeding Electrification Of Railways
Electrification has been given top priority as part of the national objective to make India a green nation. A total of 66% of the track length was electrified by November 2020, with the hope to electrify the entire broad-gauge network by 2023. After complete electrification, it is predicted that India will save over Rs. 14,500 crores annually on fuel and energy costs.
Mission Of Green Railways
Indian Railways has set a challenging goal for itself: zero carbon emissions by 2030. This includes an ambitious goal of producing renewable energy with the help of the railroad’s resources. In 2020, the Indian Railways began operating its 1.5 MW solar energy plant as a trial in an effort to meet its energy requirements and is expected to generate 30 GW of solar power by 2030.
The Bottom Line
The Indian Railways is continuously reinventing itself to suit changing commercial requirements and maintain its position as the nation’s lifeblood. Unquestionably, Indian Railways’ quick action and foresight in and after the pandemic is a shining example of public devotion.
(The author is Co-founder & CEO, Confirmtkt. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.)