Indian Railways has sent out a global tender to get seven lakh metric tonne of rails for revamping old tracks to ensure safety after several accidents in the recent past.
"So, seven lakh metric tonne of additional rail (track) is sought to be procured for which a global tender is already been out on the 12th of October," said Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal.
The decision comes after reports suggested earlier this month that Indian Railways will spend Rs 1,000 crore over the next six months to replace old and outdated tracks with new ones.
Goyal has also cleared a proposal to call for global bids next month for the supply of steel rails. He also wants to ensure that the massive track renewal exercise is not halted for want of supplies. Currently, Steel Authority of India (SAIL) meets about 85 percent of the total demand.
According to a report published by the Indian Railways in 2015, about 40 percent of railway tracks have been used beyond capacity. Congestion rates are also higher.
An IndiaSpend analysis of available data shows that track failures and subsequent derailments are caused due to two factors – excessive traffic and underinvestment in rail infrastructure.
However, affected by a long spell of underinvestment, Indian Railways now seems to be gearing up for a plan to improve the railways in order to avoid derailments.
According to Reuters, Indian Railways' capital expenditure has increased from Rs 57,000 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 97,000 crore in 2015-16, and in the current fiscal, it has been pegged at Rs 1.21 lakh crore.
Earlier this year, former Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu had also said that they will spend about Rs 10,000 crore for the renewal of tracks and adopt latest technology to detect rail fracture to reduce accident rate.
Last week, the central government had said that it is planning to spend about Rs 3,000 crore in Indian Railways to make smart yards. The move will automate maintenance and repair work of rakes, which is being done manually since the start of railways in India.
Reports also suggest that World Bank has plans to help to improve Indian Railways by investing Rs 5 lakh crore for a grand renewal, and making the network a key contributor to the nation's growth.
"We have agreements with 13 countries for cooperation in the rail sector. Railways have already signed Rs 97,636 crore deal with Japan for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail project," a senior official said.