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Cover Story

“Konkan railway is an efficient railway system”
Bhanu Prakash Tayal, Managing Director , Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd.
Issue Date - 13/10/2011
Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd. (KRCL), which operates a railway track of about 738 km along Western India, is not a profit-making PSU yet. It recorded a total loss of Rs.890 million in FY2009 & 2010. But this year, the company, hopes to enter the black. With little scope for route and revenue base expansion, most would count it out of the race to become a Miniratna in near future. But Bhanu Prakash Tayal, who has been steering the KRCL ship since September 1, 2009, as the MD of the company, feels otherwise.

B&E: KRCL is planning to double the length of Konkan Railway tracks. How much is KRCL planning to invest in this project?
Bhanu Prakash Tayal (BPT): Although the present track capacity of Konkan Railway is sufficient to take care of the present level of traffic, we have laid out our plan to double the length of Konkan Railway. We are planning to do the patch doubling from Kolad to Veer, Thokur to Udupi and Majorda to Verna in a phased manner. We plan to spend about Rs.2 billion per annum for the purpose, starting 2013.

B&E: Though there are no present bottlenecks that prevent the carrying of the present level of traffic, improving port connectivity is being looked at by KRCL as a means to increase traffic and revenues thereof. Would you agree?
BPT: Yes, and the effort is on. At present, we are spending Rs.200-300 million every year, for upgrading stations and facilitating the port connectivity on Konkan Railway, which will bring more originating traffic and generate new revenue streams for Konkan Railway.

B&E: As is the global trend, is KRCL also looking at electrifying its sectors?
BPT: At present, the Central, the South Western and the Southern Railways are working on diesel traction. When these sections are electrified, the entire stretch on Konkan Railway will also be electrified.

B&E: Much is also being talked about your Jammu-Srinagar rail linkage project. Can you give us a quick idea of the project?
BPT: At present, we are constructing a railway line that is 73 km-long, along the most difficult terrain of the Jammu-Srinagar Rail Link. This line will have about 60 km of tunnels and the bridges will be more than 5 km long. The construction of the J&K line is the most challenging rail project of this century. We will be constructing an arch bridge, over Chenab river at a height of 539 metre above the seabed. The total length of the bridge will be more than 1.6 kms. This bridge will be the highest bridge from the riverbed in the world. Similarly, the longest tunnel in the section will be 12 km long.

B&E: China’s success today is largely attributed to State-run enterprises, something which we don’t often say about Indian PSUs. What is KRCL’s answer to this question of potential?
BPT: Konkan Railway is an efficient railway system. Application of IT, mechanised maintenance and staff pattern and discipline have been taken as benchmark traits for many of the other railway projects in India. We are also into various innovations like Anti-Collision Device, Sky Bus et al, which bear huge potential for practical implementation in India. Also, with the port connectivity of the Western Coast with Konkan Railway, the export/import traffic from/to these ports will improve. KRCL will therefore help increase tourist traffic in Maharashtra, Goa & Karnataka.



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