South Western Railways’ (SWR) constant efforts to improve punctuality have paid dividends. “SWR has achieved punctuality of 97 per cent surpassing target of 95 per cent set by Railway Board for us during the year 2012-13,” Ashok Kumar Mital, general manager, SWR, told Business Line.
“In addition to punctuality, we are giving special thrust to improve infrastructure and line capacity on various sections,” he added.
SWR during the current financial year has set a target of completing 41 km of new line, 27 km of gauge conversion and 44 km of doubling in all a total of 112 km. At present SWR has achieved 77.5 kms out of 112.5 kms of track laying and plans to achieve the rest by March.
Mital, commetnting on the performance of SWR during the first nine months of the financial year, said, “SWR has demonstrated remarkable turnaround in its performance in nine years of its existence, both in physical and financial terms.”
“It has been satisfactory both in passenger traffic as well as in freight traffic. The number of passengers carried has gone up by 5.60 per cent to 147.24 millions compared with 139.43 millions carried last year,” Mital added.
The originating passenger earnings have increased by 7.15 per cent to Rs 911.10 crore from Rs 850.33 crore earned last year.
Mital said in spite of the ban on iron ore exports in Karnataka, and restrictions on mining, SWR has carried 25.119 million tonnes of freight, against 23.846 million tonnes carried during the previous year.
The freight earnings have increased by 22.17 per cent to Rs 1,983.54 crore as compared with Rs 1,667.11 crore earned previous year.
SWR has made special emphasis to bring about perceptible improvement for rail travel by improving security, passenger amenities and cleanliness.
“Information Technology (IT) is being used in a great way to provide passenger amenities by installing audio video enquiry terminals, digital display boards, coach locating guiding system,” said Mital.
“For easy availability of tickets, unreserved ticketing system (UTS) has been extended to cover 243 stations and reserved tickets can now be obtained from 143 locations. In addition to this, 56 Jansadharan Ticket Booking Sevak (JTBS) have been appointed to issue unreserved tickets to travelling passengers,” he added.