The timeline for completion of the eastern and western dedicated freight corridors has been extended by six months to June 2022 due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav said on August 20.
The Railways was earlier looking to complete the project by 2021.
The eastern and western dedicated freight corridors are expected to see investments to the tune of Rs 81,459 crore.
Speaking on people losing their lives on railway tracks, Yadav said nearly 30,000 people lost their lives due to trespassing and untoward incidents and the Railways is trying to reduce the count.
"Death statistics are maintained in three forms: consequential accidents, trespassing and untoward incidents. Deaths are categorised under untoward incidents and trespassing, where around 29,000-30,000 deaths were reported in the last three years. We are trying to reduce this as well," he said.
Yadav' comments come in the backdrop of NITI Aayog raising concerns over the Railways claim of zero deaths around railway tracks this fiscal.
In a letter to Yadav, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant had said that over 2,000 people lose their lives in the Mumbai suburban network every year and such deaths should also be part of the total deaths records on account of trespassing.
The Railways recorded 16 deaths in 2018-19, 28 in 2017-18 and 195 in 2016-17 due to rain mishaps that include collision, derailment, fire and other miscellaneous accidents. These figures do not include trespassing and other untoward incidents around the tracks.
Yadav also informed that freight loading in August has been 7 percent higher than last year.
He said they are working out separate timetables for passenger trains, maintenance and freight trains.
"We want to maintain speed of freight trains even after entire network of passenger trains operate," Yadav said.
The Railways said that as on August 19 freight loading was 3.11 million tonne, higher than on the same date last year (2.97 million tonne). It earned Rs 306.1 crore from freight loading, which is Rs 5.28 crore higher than on the same date last year.
It is also considering using India Post services for last-mile connectivity for consignment across the country, Yadav said, after a pilot project was carried out by the Central Railways in Maharashtra. Earlier, the India Post Railway Parcel Service, a combined service of the Central Railway and India Post, was used for providing first and last-mile connectivity to send two ventilators from Nagpur to Mumbai during the coronavirus lockdown.Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here