City SundayInterview

SWR focus is always on good service: Atul Gupta

Indian Railways is always committed to provide efficient service to passengers. “Punctuality, safety and quality top the list of our priorities,” says  Atul Gupta, who took over as Railway Divisional Manager, SWR, Mysuru division a couple of months back.    

There is always a threat to women travelling in trains. What are the steps taken to ensure their safety?

We strive hard to provide best security service. You have helpline ‘182’ round the clock service for safe journey. In terms of ensuring best service in the railways, we would like thank the state government and the people of Mysuru for their good cooperation. The state government has always maintained good law and order system which is not the case in some of the north Indian states. Proactive nature of the people here spurs us to take more initiatives with the focus on comfortable journey for the passengers.

At the helm of affairs, Do you think your priority is to provide good service or generate revenue for your organization?

As far as we concerned, there is no fixed profit generation from passenger service. Apart from providing good travel experience for passengers, we also focus on revenue generation like freight services. Railway transportation is comparatively cheap compared to other services. In this direction, we are trying to tap a few industries and entrepreneurs to utilise railway services to boost their business interests.

What are the green initiatives taken by your department, apart from implementation of Swachh Bharat mission?

We are giving priority to hygiene. While promoting this, we are also educating people to be part of this initiative. On green initiatives, we are setting up solar panels and wind power units in selected stations. Our Mysuru office will soon be equipped with solar panels which will reduce electricity cost by at least Rs 1 lakh every month. The division is also tapping solar and wind energy to reduce its dependence on conventional forms of energy. Six railway stations in the division, and a few other stations have already been already fitted with solar and wind hybrid unit. To start, with six stations in the division, Birur, Chitradurga, Chikjajur, Arsikere, Chikmagalur and Mysuru railway station will have 15kw capacity wind and solar hybrid power. For DRM office building 50kw power back-up will be set up. At Birur and Chikjajur stations, the work is almost complete. All these works are expected to be completed by the end of this year. The power generated will be used for station building including platforms, unreserved ticket counter and reservation counters and waiting rooms. Renewable energy is also being used to power 94 level crossing gates across the division.  Some of the rest rooms in the division are fitted with solar geysers.

Many unmanned level crossings are leading to accidents. How do we avert this?

There is a big plan to avoid such mishaps. In two years’ time, our department is aiming to get rid of unmanned level crossings completely. Of the total 167 unmanned level crossings in the division, sanction has already been obtained for eliminating 130 unmanned level crossings.  The unmanned level crossings will be converted into manned gates. The tender process is under process. Among 130 unmanned crossing, ready to be wound up, 50 of them will be removed this year, while the rest next year. Altogether, unmanned level crossings will be eliminated in the division in another two years which will enhance safety and punctuality of trains. 

Are you happy with the efficiency of Mysuru division? Are you planning to initiate more welfare works?

Apart from continuing the good work that we have been doing, we are planning to initiate more welfare works. In recognition to our service, Mysuru division has been conferred with overall efficiency shield in South Western Railway for its better service, maintenance, transparency in  accounts management, quality engineering and mechanical service and tight security.  The award was conferred during Railway week celebration held at Hubli on April 19. Two officers and 21 employees of Mysuru division were chosen and awarded for their best service.

How is the revenue generation?

It is not bad. Mysuru division touched Rs 600.82 crore last fiscal year. The division recorded highest monthly loading during the financial year 2015-16. The overall earnings of the division stood at Rs 600.82 crore last year compared to Rs 523.10 crore the previous year – up by 14.86 per cent. Division’s overall loading has shown an increase of 45.8 per cent against previous year’s 26 per cent. Division has loaded of 5.038 million tonnes against previous year’s loading of 3.455 million tonnes. The punctuality of Mysuru division is the highest among the three divisions of South Western Railway. The division has transported 484 lakh passengers this year compared to 481 lakh the previous year. The passenger earnings at Rs.232.08 Crores have shown an increase of 6.41% in comparison to Rs 218.09 crore inf 2014-15.

Any developmental works initiated for the current fiscal year? How is the department utilizing the technology? Is it satisfactory or poor?

Yes it has already been undertaken for various projects. The railways is spending Rs 2600 crore for various projects for the 2016-17.  We are also taking up new initiatives in the division by strengthening IT service for achieving 100 per cent paper free work in the office. Leverage of Information Technology tools for efficient and seamless delivery of services continues to be the focus area. The IT cell created for in-house development of Apps has added a new feature with SMS alert for deputing staff under safety category for attending Refresher Course (RC) and Periodical Medical Examination (PME). The critical energy audit application for generation of comprehensive data at multiple levels has been successfully tested. Full scale implementation of the App aimed at preventing wastage of power as also reducing manpower, will begin shortly. Digitization of Daily Performance Reports initiated recently is contributing significantly in achieving the objective of 100 per cent paperless office and further qualitative improvement in the system is expected to bring about palpable change in the days to come.

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