After installing radio-frequency identification tags (RFID) in wagons, Indian Railways will now opt for global positioning system (GPS) at an estimated cost of Rs 600 crore for the entire fleet of wagons to track it in real time.
A step towards increased use of technology for smooth running of freight operations, the Union Budget 2022-23 has made provision for all 3 lakh wagons to be equipped with GPS technology for mapping and visibility in real time basis for an effective and faster mode of operation in wagon management, said a senior Railways Ministry official.
GPS technology is widely used in the logistic industry and it is a digital tool for asset tracking. Currently, data is maintained manually, which leaves scope for errors. With GPS, it will be much easier for the railways to know the exact position of all the wagons.
Earlier, a drive was launched to equip wagons with RFID systems and accordingly, more than 1 lakh wagons are being tagged with RFID systems. However, the RFID project will not be cancelled and the work would go on as per the sanctioned order.
There would be a total 2.25 lakh wagons to be installed with RFID as per the already sanctioned work. The railways maintained that using GPS would effectively tackle the challenges of managing huge inventory in terms of wagons and tracking accurate location of the entire fleet even while in transit.
The satellite-based GPS will facilitate the railways to track wagons in a better way to address the wagon crisis, if any, on a real time basis, said the official.
The railways has set a procurement target of 102,000 wagons in the next three years while about 35,000 in the 2022-23 fiscal. The railways also plans to procure 10,000 freight bogies with improved dynamic performance and low maintenance for higher performance.
Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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