December 17, 2019
The Mahua Milan railway station under the east-central railway zone is the latest to receive this facility
As of October 2019, 10,242 TB of data has been consumed by the stations through 15 million user logins
Indian Railways’ Vision 2020 has offered private-public partnerships in various modernisation projects
Projects include Optical Fibre Cables, Logistics Parks, Rolling Stock manufacturing and Kisan Vision
The Indian Railways, in keeping with its goal to leapfrog growth, has successfully equipped 5,500 railway stations with free public ‘Railwire’ Wi-Fi, as per an official announcement on December 7. The Mahua Milan Railway Station in the state of Jharkhand under the East Central Railway zone has been the latest to receive this facility. Railwire Wi-Fi has been instrumental in bridging the urban-rural divide by providing commuters with quality internet connectivity. The success of the programme is evidenced by 10,242 TB of data consumption by all the stations through 15 million user logins during the month of October 2019.
The initiative is part of a public-private partnership between the Ministry of Railways and private companies such as Google, Tata Trust, and PGCIL, among others. As per the comprehensively formulated Vision 2020 for the Indian Railways, “it has to concentrate on the core activity of the creation of railway infrastructure and operations and forge partnerships with (the) private sector to do the rest. The challenge of project execution and efficient provision of service can not be accomplished without involving the private sector in a big way.”
The vision aims to establish an extensive network of Optical Fibre Cables (OFCs), Multi-Modal Logistics Parks, Rolling Stock manufacturing units and Kisan Vision projects to catalyze Railway Modernization initiatives.
Railway Modernisation has been a key focus area for the Indian Railways and the scope of public-private partnerships has been expanded over the past decades. A very successful precedent has been set in the case of the Pipavav Railway Corp Ltd wherein a 50:50 equity sharing model was adopted between the Ministry of Railways and the Gujarat Pipavav Port Ltd. This historic joint venture was the first to be actualized on a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) model with the Ministry of Railways leasing land to the latter for a record price.
This has been followed by similar successful joint ventures namely the Hassan Mangalore Rail Development Company (2003), Viramgam Mahesana Project Limited (2002), Kutch Railway Corporation Limited (2004) and the Bharuch Dahej Railway Company Limited (2005) among others. With the Ministry of Railways focusing on enhancing safety and equipping the sector with state-of-the-art amenities, the nation can expect to have a well-modernised railway infrastructure in place. This will also be a major driving force in strengthening the economy.