Indian railways had gone through a topsy-turvy ride this past decade. From crores of deficit, to pathetic services inside the trains and unhygienic conditions at the platforms, the state of the railways was really deteriorating and it seemed to be overburdened with myriad issues. Then, Suresh Prabhu happened.
The Railway Minister, through sheer determination, hard work and innovative ideas, has breathed new life in the Indian railways. He is extremely pro-active, has a distinct vision for the future of the railways in the country and is working tirelessly towards it.
Ever since he has taken over the railway ministry, Suresh Prabhu has launched many a scheme and taken several measures to help the railways grow. Here, we give you ten reasons to show that Suresh Prabhu is the best thing to have happened to the Indian Railways.
He has taken cleanliness at railway platforms to another level: Never has our railway platforms been so clean and spick like we have been witnessing them under Suresh Prabhu. Be it small stations like Nagpur or Durg or the bigger ones like Chandigarh or Bengaluru, the cleanliness at the stations has been nothing short of remarkable. Every second day, daily commuters keep flooding the social media with pictures from various railways stations lauding the railway minister for his excellent work.
The ‘Clean My Coach’ service: In an innovative approach, Suresh Prabhu had recently launched a service called ‘clean my coach’. Through this, a passenger can request for a dirty coach to be swept and cleaned by sending an SMS on the number 58888.
Even prior to the launch of this scheme, a marked improvement could very well be seen in the cleanliness on the Indian coaches almost everywhere. This was something which was never the case a few years back.
Responding to passengers’ pleas with immediate results: Over the past few months, Suresh Prabhu has shown that he really takes note of any compliant or request by passengers travelling on a train. The railway minister is extremely tech-savvy and has ensured that the ministry responds to people’s pleas; especially through social media.
There are countless examples of this. A few months back, a lady passenger tweeted that her male co-passenger was abusing her. After taking her PNR no., the Ministry of Railways immediately sent some police personnel to catch hold of the culprit. Then, there was this instance of a young man tweeting to Suresh Prabhu fearing how his ailing father, who had paralysis, would deboard at the next station. By the next station, a team was sent to coach of the said man by the railways and his father was tended to. A few weeks back, a man traveling from Mumbai Central to Ahmedabad had the windows of his seat cleaned a few minutes after he complained about them being stained via a tweet to the railway minister.
These are just some of the numerous examples. Suresh Prabhu has regularly made sure that the passengers’ needs are taken care of in any way possible and that they should never face any discomfiture whilst traveling on an Indian train.
E-tendering portal will clamp down on corruption: Earlier this year, Suresh Prabhu launched an e-tendering portal, the aim of which was to bring transparency in the execution of work contracts and also make it cost-effective for the bidders. Through this step the railway minister aims to put every transaction online, and hence clamp down on any possible route of corruption which was happening through manual handling of these tenders.
The stunning ‘Make in India’ railway coaches: When the trail run for the ‘Make in India’ railway coaches was done a few weeks back, it left everyone in the country stunned. So majestic were the pictures of these coaches that many thought they were fake or perhaps for some foreign country. Part of the ‘Make in India’ campaign, these coaches have been in work for about 5 years and it will take a little more time before we can see them running on a regular basis. However, the trail run – despite some passengers defiling it – has been overwhelmingly successful and we can’t wait to see them being regular.
Plans to upgrade coaches to European standards and solar-powered enabled coaches: The railway minister has recently announced that over 65,000 railway coaches in the country will be upgraded at par with European standards and they will be made more passenger-friendly.
Also, in line with the ‘Make in India’ initiative, the prototypes for the solar power-enabled coaches were successfully launched earlier this year. They could well be the game-changer in the years to come as apart from being very cost-effective, 17 units of power can be generated in a day by these solar coaches.
Earning Rs 3000 crore from scrap e-auction: In another smart move, Suresh Prabhu has made e-auction mandatory for the scrap auction of the railways. After switching to 100% e-auction for sale of scrap, the railways fetched above Rs 3,000 crore revenue in 2014-15. The earlier method of open auctioning was resulting in some form of corruption seeping in as well. Through this method, a lot of transparency has been achieved in scrap auctioning along with some notable profits earned.
Setting up of Diesel and Electric locomotive factories: Indian Railways has signed the formal contract agreement with USA based GE and France based Alstom last year for the setting up of the Diesel and Electric locomotive factories at Marhowra and Madhepura (both in Bihar) respectively. This deal has been described as the biggest foreign direct investment (FDI) deal in manufacturing. More importantly, though, this deal will ensure that the factories will manufacture and supply highly modern and superior quality diesel and electric locomotives for a period of 11 years to the Indian railways.
Setting up of automatic coach washing plants to save and recycle water: This is another example of why Suresh Prabhu is so enterprising and has very good situational awareness. With the drought issue tormenting the country at present, the Indian railways has decided to set up automatic coach washing plants at 10 major depots to save water required for cleaning trains. These automatic washing plants are eco-friendly and well equipped to recycle water. They will use only 6000 liters of water to clean a rake and out of which 4000 liters of water can be recycled. This is indeed a laudable initiative.
Other miscellaneous accomplishments: Ever since Suresh Prabhu took over as Railway Minister, he has initiated the upgraded the website of IRCTC, launched paperless ticketing, allowed hygienic and cheaper water at stations, allowed private caterers in running trains, undertaken the cleaning of toilets and railway premises, mechanized washing of linen, initiated changing the internal design of coaches, and expanded the railway network, among several other things.
Then, Suresh Prabhu had announced that there will be free Wi-Fi services at 100 rail stations earlier this year. The process has already begun (from Bhubaneswar) and at present, close to 30 stations in the country has already has got free Wi-Fi. The budgetary announcements made in the Railway Budget this year seem to be well on track too.
These points would have hopefully given you some light on the amount of the splendid work that Suresh Prabhu has been doing. May he keep going the same way and may he take Indian railways to its greatest heights ever.