By : Harish Kunwar : When Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL), a public undertaking sector under the Ministry of Railways, commemorates 11 years of its through line train operations on 26th Jan, 2009, it will also bask in the glow of its growing presence in several Bollywood movies in all these years, some of which went on to become huge hits. Due to the lush green carpet and scenic locales all along its route, the Konkan Railway route has always been a favourite with film and advertisement producers for shooting purposes, earning the Corporation close to one crore Rupee in the last year.Recently, the super hot pair – Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif – shot on Konkan Railway route for their most eagerly awaited film “Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani”. Some of the famous Bollywood films which were shot on Konkan Railway route are Kidnap, Plan, Musafir, Kaccha Limboo, Kuch Na Kaho, and Dil Maange More.
Since 1998 when the train services were started on Konkan Railway route, there has been no looking back for this railway. It has been constantly covered by even BBC, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic in its programmes. Some advertisements for audio-visual media and various documentary films and tele-serials have also been shot on this picturesque railway.
Most of the film shootings on Konkan Railway route take place in Mangaon-Khed section, which is just about 100 km from Mumbai, or at Verna and Karmali near Madgaon, though there are various other locations ahead of Goa too which are a favourite with the Tollywood film producers. Complete co-operation by Konkan Railway ensures smooth film shooting. Whatever the reason, here is a shooting location that neither the film producer, nor the film’s director or the actors will complain to go to – after all everyone has something or the other to gain.
26th January 1998, it was on this day that the trains directly connected Mumbai with Mangalore in shortest possible time, reducing the travel between these places from 36 to 16 hrs. In the 11 years, it is the first time that Konkan Railway has not reported any consequential accident on its route in 2008. Konkan Railway has achieved this feat by taking extra efforts to increase safety on its route by executing massive earthworks, widening the slopes, planting lakhs of Vetiver grass as soil erosion control measure, and various other geo-tech works to arrest boulder falls and soil slippage during the monsoon. The efforts have borne fruit. There has not been any major traffic disruption on the route in the past 3 years since the time these massive safety works were executed and a special Monsoon Time Table implemented on the route.
In these 11 years, Konkan Railway has also made significant strides in train operations and innovations. The innovative Anti-Collision Device (ACD), a patented technology of Konkan Railway, is being implemented in phases over various zonal railways in India. KRCL has now formed a special ‘ACD Task Force’ to tap the immense potential that ACD has in the domestic and the international market.
Konkan Railway has also pioneered Telemedicine in railways in the country, whereby the railway employees working in far off areas and their family members get medical specialist opinion from bigger cities. In Telemedicine, the text, audio and video images are transmitted to a computer server at railway headquarters where specialist doctors analyze it and medical advice is then given to the patient. Konkan Railway has a tie-up with various dedicated and motivated specialists in the country. So far, Telemedicine has been implemented connecting 18 centers in North-East Frontier Railway, East Central, Western, Southern, and North Central Railways apart from Konkan Railway route and its work site in Jammu and Kashmir. Six more centers, including Ahmedabad and Dahod, are in pipeline in 2009-10.
The most economic, mass rapid transport technology, the Sky Bus Metro, is also an innovation of Konkan Railway for which it holds patents. Taking Sky Bus Metro technology forward to its logical conclusion of certification and eventual commercial deployment, Konkan Railway has invited Global Expression of Interest.
Konkan Railway has also brought a financial turnaround in the last 4 years, displaying a significant increase in its earnings, total surplus, and achieving the lowest net loss and highest Operating index so far. In the past, the World Bank has appreciated KRCL’s practices to bring down the cost of operation and maintenance and termed it a benchmark for others to follow. Last year saw recession setting in all over the world. Though it affected Konkan Railway’s revenue too, it is encouraging that overall KRCL has done well in the period upto December, 2008 compared to the corresponding period of previous financial year 2007-08. The Financial Restructuring of the Corporation, recently approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, has only helped the Corporation to continue writing its financial success story.
As passenger amenity, new Vasco Da Gama – Patna Superfast Express was recently started on the route. The frequency of Rajdhani Express and Goa Sampark Kranti Express trains has been increased. Work has also started for construction of Vinhere station which will benefit the local populace of 15 to 20 surrounding villages. PRS facility was commissioned recently at Oras Head Post Office in tie-up with the India Post, benefitting people residing in the District Headquarters of Sindhudurg.
Further on, Konkan Railway aims at fostering marketing strategies for commercial implementation of its innovative technologies far and wide, and nurture efforts to make the Corporation a profit making unit.