BENGALURU: The Railway Board has set massive infrastructure targets for the South Western Railway (SWR) Zone for the financial year 2019-2020, for doubling its existing lines as well as laying new railway lines. The targets set for its commercial earnings and passenger occupancy are nominal.
A video conference was held on Wednesday by the Railway Board at New Delhi, with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Board Chairman Vinod K Yadav interacting with General Managers, Divisional Railway Managers and top railway officials across the country. The marathon discussion held from 2.30 pm to 8 pm has proposed targets for all Railway Divisions apart from undertaking a performance review of the past year.
General Manager, SWR Zone, Ajay Kumar Singh said, “The new targets proposed are double of what had been achieved the present year when it comes to doubling of railway tracks. It has increased manifold in the case of laying new railway tracks.
Chief Administrative Officer, Constructions, K C Swami said, “The board has proposed 349 km of doubling lines for this financial year and 107 km of new lines for SWR.”
SWR had achieved its best ever performance on the doubling front in a single financial year - 167.4 km - for 2018-2019. “The present target suggested is more than double of our best achievement. We are negotiating with the board to bring it down as we think it is too high. We had put in place 15.5 km of new lines by end of March 2019. This has also been increased manifold.”
Among the sectors where SWR is planning to complete the doubling are Arisikere-Tumukuru and Gadag-Hotgi sections, and a new doubliing project between Londa and Miraj. A new line will come up between Ginigera and Raichur while other new lines are being finalised.
On the revenue and passenger front, the board has called for a nominal increase. “The board wants us to increase our passenger revenue from Rs 2140 crore to Rs 2151 crore. It is an achieveable target. It also wants the total number of train passengers in the Zone to be increased from 19.38 crore to 19.71 crore,” said a senior official in the Commercial department of SWR.
The board is set to take a final call on the targets for all Zones within a week, said another top official. “It would generally be on the lines of whatever has been proposed in the joint review meeting,” he said.