New Delhi, Mar 27 (UNI) Indian Railways will need to invest more than 160 million US dollars during the next one year for modernisation of its workshops and procurement of newest machines if it has to maintain its competitive edge in transportation and logistics segments.
''The Railways is likely to invest 23.5 million dollars for procurement of machines and 140 million dollars for modernisation of workshops over the next one year,'' said Mr R.K. Rao, Member (Mechanical), Railway Board.
He was inaugurating a two-day international seminar on ''Railway Workshop Modernisation&New technology in Machine Tools'', organised by the Institute of Rolling Stock Engineers, here today.
Mr Rao said the concept of 'workshop modernisation' itself had undergone a sea change.
''The rapidly growing Indian economy is making huge demands on the infrastructure and logistics and the sprawling rail network of the Railways has a definite edge in providing the most critical input to the economy, namely transportation,'' he said.
To retain this edge, the Railways has a massive investment plan of Rs 2,50,000 crore during the 11th Plan, which translates into a figure of Rs 50,000 crore a year, he added.
A separate organisation -- COFMOW (Central Organisation for Modernisation of Workshops) dedicated to modernising age-old workshops -- was set up with a World Bank loan in 1979. The initial task was to replace individual machines of pre-independence vintage on the condition basis.
When this did not suffice, phased replacement of machines was resorted to and later machines were procured in batches as manufacturing lines for production of specific products with a pre-defined cycle, he said.
The Railways is one of the single biggest units under one umbrella in the world. It has more than 50 independent mechanical engineering workshops and production units, which undertake manufacturing, overhaul and repair activities for engines, coaches, wagons and other railway assets.
Institute of Rolling Stock Engineers has been actively engaged in dissemination of railway engineering knowledge and expertise among its members, industry and users through a large pool of distinguished technical experts. It provides an opportunity to its member industries to gain from larger context and knowledge pool.
During the two-day seminar, 30 papers will be presented by foreign as well as Indian Speakers who are leaders in their respective fields.
Mr Angelo Santanera (Italy), Mr Rik Noppe (Belgium), Mr Hofmann Matthias (Germany), Mr Kumar Balan (Canada) and Mr Daniele Romanini (Italy) are among the distinguished speakers attending the seminar.
Officers of Indian Railways who are responsible for production and maintenance of rolling stock as well as machine tool maintenance in workshops and production units, RDSO, Railway Board and various PSUs are also attending the event.
The participants would deliberate on issues concerning wheel machining automation, metal forming, cutting and finishing, rescue devices, measurement tools and role of simulators.
The prominent foreign companies participating in the seminar are Safop (Italy), Fooke (Germany), LVD Belgium (Italy), Pama (Italy), Niles (Germany), Legris (France), Jordi (Spain) and Danobat (Spain).
UNI/SKS VD HT1612