SCR registers increase in earnings

HYDERABAD April 9. Continuing its good run in passenger and freight lifting operations, the South Central Railway (SCR) has achieved apportioned earnings to the tune of Rs. 4,013 crores during the financial 2002-03, registering a significant increase of Rs. 216 crores when compared to the previous year.

In the process, the SCR registered an all-time record high of 62.3 million tonnes freight loading while the originating passenger traffic carried during the year was 210 million with an operating ratio of 87.4 per cent. Disclosing the operational details of the South Central Railways during the financial year 2002-03 at a press conference here on Wednesday, the SCR general manager, S.M Singla, said that despite several factors like agitations by the Singareni Collieries Company Limited workers, failure of tipplers in Chennai harbour and drought, the performance of the SCR was satisfactory. For the current year, the SCR targeted an approximate apportioned earnings of Rs 3,720.38 crores against the Rs. 4,013 crores last year, the reduction being due to merger of Hubli division with the South Western Railways.

Mr. Singla, who convened the press conference on the eve of the 48th Zonal Railway Week celebrations commencing on Thursday, said that the SCR took up various works like the broad gauge track renewals and doubling of railway lines besides improving passenger amenities during the previous financial year.

In the process, funds to the tune of Rs. 354 crores were spent on the broad gauge track renewal and Rs. 100 crores allocated for railway line doubling works under the Rail Vikas Yojana launched by the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, on December 26 while Rs. 200 crores allocated under the special railway safety fund was utilised for works relating to bridges, modernisation of signalling systems at various stations and related issues.

With the SCR actively taking up the optic fibre laying works over a 2,000 km stretch covering Secunderabad -Vijayawada - via Nadikude, Vijayawada - Gudur, Secunderabad - Wadi and other routes, the Rail Tel Corporation earned Rs. 1 crore by leasing out bandwidth to private telecom operators. The work on the optic fibre laying was almost complete and it would be ready for commissioning by the month end.

In addition, the Freight Operation Information System was installed at Secunderabad and other important locations all over the zone for efficient monitoring of freight movement while plans were afoot to start Coaching Operations Information Systems.

In view of the shortage of manpower, the SCR had placed indent with the Railway Recruitment Board for recruitment of 5,992 Group D staff of which 4,035 would be from Andhra, 1,662 from Karnataka and 295 from Mumbai.

During the current year, the SCR proposes to introduce 12 new trains while plans were also underway to extend three trains, he said.

Asked about the accidents on some major routes in the zone, the SCR general manager said that but for a few incidents at the unmanned level crossings, an incident of sabotage on the Hyderabad - Bangalore section and the accident at Ghatnandur, the number of accidents had in fact come down during the year.

"The movement of people and vehicles at the unmanned level crossings despite a clear view of the approaching train continues to pose a problem for the SCR,'' he said adding the railway property worth Rs. 25 crores was damaged during the year due to blasting of railway stations by extremists.