VK Yadav, CEO and Chairman, Indian Railways
The Coronavirus outbreak has dealt a huge blow to the Indian Railways as it has taken a hit of 90 percent on its revenues from the passenger segment.
“The Railways has earned Rs 3,322 crore from the passenger segment, which is 90 percent less than last year, due to COVID-19,” said VK Yadav, CEO and Chairman, Railway Board.
On the resumption of full-scale services of passenger trains, Yadav said the Railways is in regular touch with state governments and assessing the situation. He, however, admitted that it is difficult to give an exact date due to the uncertainty created by the Coronavirus outbreak.
“For all commodities, freight loading has grown, compared to last year, and there has been a 9 percent revenue growth, which comes to Rs 869 crore more than last year. We have also seen tremendous growth in automobile loading as 320 rakes have been loaded in October compared to 162 last year. Kisan Rail has also picked up and we are running them as per requirement,” Yadav said.
Speaking on the status of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, Yadav informed that 66 percent of the total land has been acquired.
“We hope to acquire 95 percent of land in Gujarat by next month. We have not yet worked out the revised cost of the project,” he said.
The agitation in Punjab has forced the Railways to suspend train operations. Yadav said Railways will resume operations as soon as they get assurance from the authorities.
“Safety is important. We have requested the state government to ensure track and stations should be in the control of Indian Railways for maintenance and operations,” he said.
The Railways is also planning to tap artificial intelligence in a big way and one Chief Technological Officer will be appointed in each division.
“The Railways will set up a Centre of Excellence in Hyderabad for data analytics and artificial intelligence and we have signed an MoU with the Indian School of Business (ISB) for that purpose. A training module of two months to be undertaken by 88 officers is in the cards,” he added.