The railways plans to upgrade its capacity of issuing tickets from 25,000 to 2.25 lakh per minute and attending to enquiries from 40,000 to 4 lakh per minute, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Friday.
At a press conference here, the minister also said a target has been set to lay new railway tracks for a distance of 7,000 kilometres in financial year 2023-24.
"We plan to improve the passenger reservation system's back-end infrastructure. There will be significant improvement, almost 10 times... in terms of hardware, software and also website speed. At present, the capacity of ticketing is around 25,000 tickets per minute. The target is to upgrade it to 2.25 lakh per minute," he said. "The capacity for attending to enquiries will also be upgraded from 40,000 per minute to 4 lakh per minute, Vaishnaw added. He also announced that "Jan Suvidha" convenience stores will be constructed at 2,000 railway stations across the country, which will remain open round-the-clock.
"The stores will have all stock of daily usage items, which the passengers can simply pick on their way back home after deboarding," he said. The 2022-23 target of laying railway tracks for a distance of 4,500 kilometres (12 kilometres per day) has already been achieved, the minister said, adding, "Before 2014, this used to be four kilometres per day. The railways has set a target of laying new railway tracks for a distance of 7,000 kilometres next year. These tracks will include new lines, doubling and gauge conversion".
The minister informed that so far 594 outlets have been opened at 550 stations under the One Station One Product (OSPS) scheme. "The number of these stations will be taken up to 750 in this year," he said.
OSPS aims to encourage indigenous and specialised products and crafts of India by providing display and sale outlets on railway stations across the country. Vaishnaw also said that with the highest-ever capital outlay for the railways in the Union Budget 2023-24 at Rs 2.40 lakh crore, Vande Metro, a mini version of the Vande Bharat Express trains, will be developed by the railways for people living around big cities to travel to and fro in comfort, between their place of work and hometowns.