Shri Arun Arora, General Manager, Eastern Railway (ER) & Metro Railway hoisted the National Flag on the occasion of 76th Independence Day celebration at the Eastern Railway Indoor Stadium at Behala, Kolkata . He received salute from a contingent of RPF Jawans on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Arun Arora, General Manager, ER & Metro Railway said that it is a pleasant coincidence that on August 15, 1854, the first train in Eastern India ran between Howrah & Hooghly under the aegis of East Indian Railways now known as Eastern Railway. He said that this year we have successfully conducted the ‘Azadi Ki Rail Gadi Aur Stations’ and ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign under the aegis of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to mark the 75th year of India’s Independence.
Shri Arora added, ER recorded the highest ever originating freight loading of 76 million tonnes in 2021-22. This Railway also achieved the highest ever freight revenue of Rs.6022 crores in 2021-22. ER is now aiming to achieve 90 million tonnes of originating freight loading in 2022-23.
It is to be mentioned in this regard that during 2021-22, ER completed Track Renewal of 200 Track Kilometres, 347 Turnout renewal and Deep Screening of 466 Track Kilometres. Besides, 101 bridges have been rehabilitated during 2021-22 against a target of 55. During the current year, rehabilitation has been completed for 47 bridges till date, ensuring the achievement of the target of 100 bridges set by the Railway Board. In the last one year, ER has given a big push to complete Railway infrastructure projects. Infrastructure projects of over Rs. 3500 crores have been accomplished in 2021-22 which is the highest ever. This includes many spilled over projects that were sanctioned several years back and were stalled since long for some reasons or other.
Safety is the top most priority of ER, Shri Arora stated. ER has been one of the best performing Railway zones in terms of safety in train operations. In 2021-22, there were NIL cases of signal passing at danger, accidents at manned level crossings, fire cases or collision cases. All routes of ER are now 100% electrified, he said. The last section of ER, Hansdiha-Godda was electrified on May 25, 2022. Thus, 2848 kms of route have been electrified in ER jurisdiction. Shri Arora added that the Electronic Interlocking system at Bandel was commissioned on May 30, 2022. Set up at a cost of Rs.50 crores, the system covers 1002 routes making it one of the world’s one of the largest electronic interlocking systems. This will vastly improve mobility and safety in train operations in Howrah-Barddhaman Main Line section, he said.
ER has installed five Automatic Coach Washing Plants and will be installing four more Automatic Coach Washing Plants in 2022-23. Besides the advantage of faster cleaning and requirement of less manpower, these Coach Washing Plants will lead to a saving of 113 million litres of water every year. The One Station One Product (OSOP) scheme aims to provide enhanced livelihood and skill development opportunities to local artisans, potters, weavers/handloom weavers through sale outlets at Railway stations. 57 Railway stations over different divisions of ER shall have such stalls by October, 2022.
Shri Arora, ER & Metro Railway also said that the tunnelling work between Sealdah and Esplanade has also been completed and now we can look forward to the opening of the entire East-West corridor from Salt Lake Sector V to Howrah Maidan in 2023. Metro Services from New Garia to Hemanta Mukherjee Station are expected to commence in September, 2022 while Metro services from Joka to Taratala shall commence in October, 2022. These new sections will further augment our Metro services and will be a gift to the people of Kolkata during this Durga Puja. According to him, 7.63 cr. Commuters have availed Metro services in 2021-22. For the benefit of passengers, more numbers of Automatic Smart Card Recharge machines have been provided at Metro Stations, a total of 31 such machines have been provided till date.
Shri Arora also released a digital version of the old heritage time table of ER dating back to the East Indian Railway period in presence of Shri Sanjay Mookerjee, Ex Finance Commissioner, Railway Board, on the occasion of 76th Independence Day celebration.
Shri Arora also informed that both the Railways took a number of measures to improve the sports facilities for our sports personnel. The Indoor Stadium at Behala with a seating capacity of 1500 spectators was inaugurated by the Minister of Railways on May 31, 2022. This facility will foster the training of not only our sports personnel but also the youth of the region. Eastern Railway Sports Association had organised summer camps for School Children at no cost. A number of sports persons of ER and Metro Railway have brought laurels to the organization and the country. Shri Arora appreciated the performance of RPF of ER & Metro Railway in curbing ticketless travel and child trafficking activities.
ER & Metro Railway’s endeavour towards women empowerment is also laudable. Both the Railways under the leadership of Shri Arora have put special stress on human resources development, improved work culture and better working environment so as also to serve the passengers in an even better dimension.