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The Blue Chip of Indian Railways

South Eastern Railway has come to play a strategic role in the nation's industrial and developmental activities and is aptly called Blue Chip of the Indian Railways.

The growth of freight traffic on this Railway in this decade has been highest amongst the other constituents of the Indian Railways. The revenue earning traffic increased from less than 100 million tonnes in 1988-89 to 170.5 million tonnes during the year 1997-98. Though this Railway has been traditionally known as the freight carrier of Indian Railways, whose 90 per cent of the earnings come from freight traffic, sustained thrust has been given on the passenger front with spectacular achievement in that field. In the financial year 1997-98, this Railway carried 190 million of passengers. During 1998-99 financial year this figure is expected to increase to more than 193 million.

During 1997-98, this Railway was able to generate a total surplus of Rs. 2357 crores with an earning of Rs. 5545 crores. During 1998-99 financial year gross earnings are expected to be Rs. 5360 crores.

Provision of better safety and security to the passengers being the priority area, in the crimeprone areas, the trains are being escorted by the GRP/RPF. Mobile police stations have also already been introduced in important Mail / Express trains. This year railway has effected 20 per cent improvement in safety (train accidents).

Number of passengers booked by this Railway has gone up by 10 per cent over the last two years. A part of the endeavour has been to steadily improve, commensurate with availability of coaches, the services being provided during holiday season During this summer, 23 specials eachhave been planned from Howrah for Chennai and Mumbai and 12 specials between Visakhapatnam and Chennai. Further emphasis has been to augment the existing trains by additional coaches. Augmentation of suburban services between Howrah and Kharagpur has also bee effected. Computer reservation system of SER was connected to Delhi, Secunderabad and Mumbai systems to enable universal system of reservation. During the current year, this connectivity will be provided to Chennai also. TATKAL reservation scheme has also been launched by Ministry of Railways. On South Eastern Railway, this scheme has been introduced on Coromandel Express, Falaknuma Express, Konark Express, Bhubaneswar - Hawrah New Delhi Rajdhani Express, Geetanjali Express and Howrah-Kurla super deluxe AC express.

Railway Projects

To meet with the increasing demand of transportation of coal and other raw materials from Talcher and Korba areas, more than 1,00 KM of new lines, 875 KM of gauge conversion and 435 KM of doubling were sanctioned on this Railway. During 1998-99, the 167 KM long Talcher-Sambalpur new line, which connects the coastal Orissa to western Orissa reducing the distance by more than 200 KM was implemented. 110 KM long Nagbhir-Chanda Fort narrow gauge line was also converted to Broad Gauge and will be connected to Balharshah on Central Railway during 1999-2000. Third line from Naila to Akaltara and double line from Urkura - Raipur - Sarona was also commissioned during the year.

At present, 155 KM long new line from Daitari to Banspani is in advanced stage of construction at an estimated cost of Rs. 600 crores. It will reduce the distance from iron ore mines of Banspani and Jaruli and Paradeep port by more than 200 KM and will serve the steel plant proposed to be set up in this area. The entire line is expected to be completed by the year 2003. Work is also in progress on Howrah-Amta BG line, where eight KM section from Bargachia to Munshirhat is proposed to be opened during 1999-2000. Work is in progress on 87 KM long Tamluk-Digha new line, and is being taken up on 55 KM lone Lanjigarh-Junagarh, 289 KM long Khurda Road - Balangir, 60 KM long Haridaspur Paradep and 90 KM long Sukinda Angul BG line. After completion of gauge conversion from Gondia to Chanda Fort work on gauge conversion of gondia-Jabalpur section has been taken up. It is proposed to first take up and complete 42 KM Gondia-Balaghat section so that the work can be commissioned in phases.

Work is also in progress on guage conversion of narrow gauge line from Ranchi to Lohardaga and is being taken from Rupsa to Bangriposi and on Bankura Rainagar section. to serve the expanding coalfields of Korba and Talchar while double line has been sanctioned for 195 KM from Talchar to Paradeep, additional line has been sanctioned for 224 KM length from Korba to Bhilai.

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