PM Narendra Modi turns down Indian Railways' signalling plan worth Rs 78,000 crore
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has turned down the plan, based on the European Train Control System-Level 2, due to high costs and concerns about technology's performance in Indian conditions
April 09, 2018 / 04:04 PM IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has turned down an advanced signalling system, based on the European Train Control System-Level 2, due to high costs and concerns over technology's performance in Indian conditions, reported The Indian Express.
Sources told the paper that Modi said no to the plan at a meeting with the Railway Board on March 26. The Railways Finance Department red-flagged the huge costs, estimated around Rs 78,000 crore, and sought justification. The department said the actual cost would be at least 1.5 times more than estimated.
Considering that such technology is commissioned in high-speed systems in some global railways, the Prime Minister asked the Railways to carry out extensive trials in a section with heavy traffic density before taking a call.
The PM also told the Railways "to explore indigenously developed technologies for such signal upgrade in the future", a source told the paper.
In the European Train Control System-Level 2, electronic devices are installed along tracks to convey train signals to a computer fitted in the locomotive. These devices are synced continuously to reflect the current signals on the route and update that information in a running locomotive via wireless frequency, negating any possibility of collision.
The locomotive comes to a halt if a train jumps any signal.
While the technology may help improve the Railway's signalling system, its operational capacity is still questionable as the wireless technology — as per the E&Y report — may require a system to be based on the futuristic 4-G Long-Term Evolution (LTE), which is still under testing.
Railway minister Piyush Goyal had, however, backed the new system and expressed plans to give the contract to one player to maximise the cost advantage. Goyal has said,"So far, in the whole world, a total of 60,000 km of this system has been installed. We are doing that much in India alone. India will change the rules of the game… The cost will finally be so less that no one would be able to compete with the price even internationally."