“Railways’ two-third earnings come from freight so we always focus on freight operation. But it is first time that instead of increasing freight rate we are reducing it,” he said at a seminar on the ‘Looking beyond coal - growth strategies for Railways in a changing environment’.
Railways has recently discontinued port congestion charge and busy season surcharge on freight. Two third of Railways’ earnings come from freight and the revenue from coal is just half of the total freight earnings.
“50 per cent of freight revenue comes from coal and that has to change. We are working on that direction and we should work together to let that happen,” Prabhu told participants.
He further said Railways is making changes at every level to facilitate customers and open to their suggestion. “You must come forward with your suggestions. Customers will not survive if Railways will not help them and Railways will not survive if customers will not help it.”
Referring to Railways pro-active approach, he said, “Earlier customers were approaching us now we are chasing customers. It is happening at zonal levels, divisional levels”. Listing various steps being taken recently to bring transparency and accountability in the system, Prabhu said “Railways is going to have enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, which will be a massive project. We are also changing the accounting system to have an integrated accounting system.”
He said steps are being taken to bring accountability and transparency in the system. “All our tendering process is online now.” On the possible business opportunities in Railways, he said 400 major stations are going to be redeveloped across the country.
Referring to India’s first time-tabled goods train Cargo Express, which commenced operation on June 15, the Railway Minister said “We launched time-table for freight trains operation.” The inaugural freight train commenced from Domestic Container Terminal (Okhla) on June 15 at 3.40 PM and reached ICD (inland container depot) at Whitefield in Bengaluru at 12.20 AM on June 18, 13 hours ahead of schedule arrival i.e, in 56 hrs 40 minutes instead of 70 hours.