Railway officials are expecting another year where resources of the suburban and long-distance networks in the city will be stretched to the maximum as they chase down another set of 'ambitious' targets. This is despite both Western and Central Railways' Mumbai divisions missing their targets for the financial year that ended on March 31.
As reported earlier by dna, these stiff targets are resulting in the railway resources — rakes, locomotives and tracks — being stretched thin, and in turn raising fears about the safety of the network itself.
CR's Mumbai division has been given a target of Rs928 crore for its suburban section, up from the Rs789-crore target for 2013-14. Its non-suburban section has been given a Rs2,042-crore target up from the Rs1,666-crore target for last year.
WR's Mumbai division has a suburban passenger earning target of Rs854.36 crore, up from the Rs715.91-crore target for last year. The target for the long-distance section has been kept at Rs1,747.41 crore for 2014-15, up from the Rs1,414.37-crore target for the financial year that ended on March 31.
These stiff targets come despite both the railway units missing their targets by a whisker and officials call this one of the most intensive train-running programmes in recent years.
On CR, against a target of Rs789.30 crore for passenger earnings on the suburban network, the authorities managed to earn Rs755.99 crore for the year that ended on March 31. Against a target of Rs1,666.61 crore for the long-distance segment, the earnings for the year ending March 2014 was Rs1,662.20, a shortfall of just Rs4.41 crore. In all, CR's Mumbai division earned Rs4,188 crore against a target of Rs4,283 crore.
The situation is much the same on WR. Against a target of Rs715.91 crore in passenger earnings for the suburban section, authorities managed to rake up Rs693 crore, a shortfall of Rs22.91 crore.
While the target for the long-distance segment was Rs1,414.37 crore, the revenue earned by WR was Rs1,426.05 crore, a surplus Rs11.68 crore. WR's Mumbai division's total earnings missed the target of Rs2,372 crore by a paltry margin and ended up at Rs2,356 crore.
According to officials, the year has started on a bad note with both CR and WR facing the brunt of the election months which generally brings down traffic. "Moreover, the number of election special trains that we need to run for the movement of paramilitary troops also affects the holiday specials we run during summer," said an official.
This year, CR ran 11 election special trains from Mumbai, because of which the number of summer holiday specials it ran came down from 641 between April and June last year to 606 this year so far. WR on its part ran 16 election specials though it managed to keep its summer holiday special numbers robust by running 132 such trips in April this year against 92 in April last year. Officials said figures for May were being tabulated and the numbers could see a dip.
"The downside of all this target-chasing is that resources are taking a beating. We are trying to stretch already thinning resources. Rakes, locomotives, tracks and maintenance schedules are getting hit. It is not a good sign," said an official.
Targets for 2014-15
Suburban – Rs928 crore
Non-suburban – Rs2,042 crore
Suburban – Rs854.36 crore
Non-suburban – Rs1,747.41 crore