With the objective of giving a boost to the Modi government’s plans for a massive infrastructure push, railways has set an ambitious target -much more than what the state-run transporter has ever achieved in the past -for laying of new tracks, doubling, gauge conversion and electrification.
Railways is aiming at commissioning of 3,500 km new rail lines in the financial year 2017-18 while it has almost doubled the target for electrification of tracks by keeping it at 4,000 km in the current fiscal year.
The national transporter has also raised the target for doubling of tracks to 1,400 km for 2017-18 fiscal even as railways has never in the past managed to do 1,000 km in a year.
Often under attack for trains running late, the railways intends to decongest high density routes to ensure safe and timely running of trains.
Currently , around 16% of the track is catering to 60% of the traffic which has resulted in choking of major trunk routes such as Delhi-Howrah, Delhi-Mumbai and MumbaiHowrah.
In the current year, railways plans to open a major portion of western dedicated freight corridor -Ateli to Phulera (around 400 km) -which will further free existing tracks for passenger trains.
The current railways dispensation is optimistic of meeting the ambitious targets as the BJP government’s decision to not announce projects in rail budgets after taking over in May 2014 helped the top brass prioritise works and ensure a sustained flow of funds for projects and focused attention on early completion.