New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): Giving a boost to ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ mission, the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for allotment of 5 MHz Spectrum in 700 MHz frequency band to Indian Railways for public safety and security services at stations and in trains.
With this spectrum, Indian Railways has envisaged providing LTE (Long Term Evolution) based Mobile Train Radio Communication on its route. The estimated investment in the project is more than Rs 25,000 Crore. The project will be completed in the next 5 years.
In addition to this, Indian Railways has approved TCAS (Train Collision Avoidance System), an indigenously developed ATP (Automatic Train Protection) System, which will help in avoiding train collisions thereby reducing accidents and ensuring passenger safety.
It brings a strategic shift in Railways’ operations and maintenance regime. It will help in improving the safety and increasing the line capacity to accommodate more trains using the existing infrastructure. The modern rail network will result in reduced transportation costs and higher efficiency. Also, it will attract multinational industries to set up manufacturing units to fulfill the ‘Make in India’ mission and generate employment.
The Spectrum charges may be levied based on a formula basis as prescribed by the Department of Telecommunications for Royalty Charges and License Fee for Captive use as recommended by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
“This decision of the government will contribute significantly to the modernization of the railway communication infrastructure, improving the safety of travel and also the quality of signalling for operations. The recommendations of TRAI in 2019, seem to have been accepted with the spectrum being allocated specifically for captive usage and not commercial use, with a royalty charge and license fee applicability payable to the Department of Telecommunications. Therefore, the wi-fi enhancement capabilities for end customers will not be a focus for now, however, the implementation of safer and faster journeys, resulting in increased revenues,” said Tony Verghese, Partner, J Sagar Associates.
The purpose of the LTE for Indian Railways is to provide secure and reliable voice, video and data communication services for operational, safety and security applications. It will be used for modern signalling and train protection systems and ensure seamless communication between loco pilots and guards. It will also enable the Internet of Things (IoT) based remote asset monitoring especially of coaches, wagons & locos, and live video feed of CCTV cameras in the train coaches to ensure efficient, safer and faster train operations.