Deadline for AC rakes pushed back to Feb-March 2016. DNA carries a report on it.
Every time I check on the status of city’s first-ever air-conditioned local train at the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai (ICF), where it is being built, I get the answer that the deadline has been pushed back. So, I promptly hit the keyboard and type out a story.
What’s the joke?
However, the joke, apart from me, is also on the railways. Imagine a country, which is now talking about a bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, cannot make a simple broad gauge air-conditioned Electrical Multiple Unit (EMU) — railway lingo for local trains — for a dense suburban network like Mumbai’s!
The air-conditioned EMU was first announced in the 2012-13 railway budget. But after that, everyone at Western Railway and ICF forgot about it.
In February 2014, the railways said the AC local would be in Mumbai by July. July came, but even the initial design of the rake was not fixed. A new deadline of January 2015 was set. Come January, the deadline was pushed to July.
Then railway minister Suresh Prabhu announced in a press briefing that the train was expected in Mumbai by October 2015. In August, the railways said the rake is coming in by December.
Now, in the last week of the year, it is saying that the train is expected by February-March 2016. So, the AC train will enter another financial year to get commissioned.
The tone of this report is rather sad – it perfectly portrays the helplessness of the layman in the face of delays upon delays in every single railway project. The catch? No one knows how many times deadline will shift!