Sam Pitroda Panel Report on Railways Modernization

Prime Minister’s advisor Sam Pitroda has unveiled an ambitious Rs 8 lakh crore modernisation roadmap for Indian railways to be carried out in ‘mission mode’ in next five years. The report has come on top of the Rs 1, 00,000 crore plan on railway safety recommended by another expert group headed by former chairman of Atomic Energy Commission Anil Kakodkar. Also recommended to be implemented in five years, the Kakodkar report envisaged spending Rs 50,000 crore on the elimination of all level crossings, an advanced signalling system through at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore for 19,000 kilometres on trunk routes, all new coaches of LHB design costing Rs 10,000 crore and another Rs 20,000 crore on maintenance of safety related infrastructural and other items.

Important Points of Sam Pitroda Panel Report:

  • Of the total Rs 8,22,671 crore required to implement the plan, he suggested budgetary support of Rs 2,50,000 crore by the Central government, Rs 2,01,805 crore of internal accrual by the railways, Rs 1,01,000 crore from leasing and borrowings, Rs 2,29,024 crore from private players, Rs 24,000 crore from dividend rebate and Rs 16,842 crore from road safety fund.
  • Modernisation of 19,000 km of existing tracks, strengthening of 11,250 bridges to sustain higher load at higher speed, eliminating all level crossings, implementation of automatic block signalling on major routes, and deployment of on board train protection system with cab signalling on all other routes.
  • GSM-based mobile train control communication system, new generation locomotives — electric locomotive of 9,000 and 12,000 HP and high horsepower diesel locomotives of 5,500 HP, high speed LHB coaches with 160/200 kmph, train sets for high speed inter-city travel, heavy haul freight bogies, green toilets on all passenger trains, modernisation of 100 major stations, development of 34 multi modal logistics, real time information system and internet facility at 342 railway stations. 5. Development of public private partnership (PPP) models and policies in various areas of railways to attract private investment to augment core capabilities such as stations and terminals, high speed railway lines, elevated rail corridor, private freight terminals, leasing of wagons, loco and coach manufacturing, captive power generation and renewable energy projects.
  • Implementation of ‘Mission Mode approach for all 15 focus areas such as track and bridges, signalling, rolling stock, stations and terminals, land, dedicated freight corridors and high speed trains·
  • Construction of North-South, East-West, East-Coast and Southern Dedicated Freight Corridors covering 6,200 km in next ten years.

The panel recommended construction of a high speed railway line between Ahmedabad and Mumbai with Speed of 300 kmph. It wanted the Railway Board reorganised along business lines with its chairman functioning as Chief Executive Officer. Zonal railways should be authorised to take investment decisions along with accountability for return on capital, transport output, safety, and profitability, the panel said. It also suggested appointment of a ‘PPP Ombudsman’ to resolve disputes.

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