Collision-free Railways

Our Country's Anti-collision Devices network with each other and form an intelligent safety layer to protect railway staff as well as the passengers from dangerous collisions/washouts in floods. A more positive and aggressive implementation is needed in public interest.

My Photo
Location: Hyderabad /Herndon VA USA , Andhra Pradesh, India

Fellow of National Academy of Engineering Fellow of Institution of Engineers, M.Tech., Indian Railway Service of Engineers (1970-2005) Former MD/ Konkan Railway Corporation

Thursday, April 08, 2010

India insults own technology development with ridicule!

B. Rajaram, FIE., FNAE
Fmr. MD Konkan Railway and Inventor of ACD technology.

Herndon, VA 20170 USA.

Dt 5th April 2010

Dear Hon'ble Minster of Railways Ms Mamata Banerjee,

´╗┐Didi, you are a very rare occurrence in political space because of your simplicity and honesty to truly serve the poor. These qualities endear you to all honest and hard working public servants and I deeply respected you with whom I could deal frankly and never hesitated to say the truth even if it is not liked.

But for your courage and confidence in my work, the railways ACD net work invention of world class, would have been killed at the inception itself.

Indian Railway never produced a world class technology since independence. We spend so much of funds on RDSO, but we have nothing innovative of world class to export from RDSO or even to be used on Indian Railways. We just import. RDSO is used to assist to import. These are facts which you can easily verify.

For the first time we have successfully developed Anti-collision Devices network and named as Raksha Kavach.. our own Indian product! The World Intellectual Property Office, Geneva, Switzerland singled out from millions of world patents our ACD and praised as a unique safety system development in their Journal. This is very rare and there is no other case like this from our country.

Further National Geographic internationally publicised our achievement and show cased the ACD technology of ours in 160 countries and is repeatedly shown over the last 5 years.

Let us pause and think how our country has achieved this distinction while we consistently failed earlier and continue to fail even now with all the budget allocation to RDSO.

With my decade long experience of working in Research both in Kharagpur IIT and in RDSO, I did identify the system defects which sap our intellect. I was actually instrumental in preparing the RDSO restructuring report in 1987, before I left for working in Zambia.

So for ACD technology development I laid down a policy document in Konkan Railway. This follows the fundamental canons of financial propriety as per Railway Code. If we are to follow the standard tendering and stores procurement process, then the story of RDSO repeats. We get disabled from the very beginning to innovate any thing. That is because creative work cannot be done through stores procurement process.

Technology development of ACD needs advanced information and communication technologies coupled with tight integration of hardware technologies including firm ware. It is a skill level none of our officers are capable of. In fact Government cannot afford to have that type of professionals at salary ranges much above the Secretary Government of India. There is also heavy turn round in such cadres. We needed to have an outsourced facility providing such professional inputs and also a focus and commitment to the product on a long term basis.

So based on a competitive test of skills and application of skills to be delivered within a tight frame work of time, a few renowned companies were involved and the successful company who could produce the first experimental prototype was chosen to become a committed partner to take forward technology development. Konkan Railway can only give domain knowledge and the concept as enunciated by me with my new theory of Deviation count to get world wide patents, but the hardwork needed for software development, hardware development, firmware modifications need definitely major intellectual contribution which has to come from the private company. I could keep the costs of development low because, the agreements entered for establishing the partnership, ensured long term stakes to the private company.

To protect railway interest, I provided for all the technology documentation to be kept under joint ownership in a bank locker. The intellectual property of the private company in manufacturing the integrated devices with specialised hardware after testing world wide available equipment and causing modifications to the same to suit our requirements, was also take over by Konkan Railway, in terms of exclusive marketing rights for India for Konkan Railway, in return for granting exclusive manufacturing and installation rights to the private company.

Additionally to assure reasonable pricing, mechanism and parameters also were detailed in the agreements, so that railway is not required to pay more than what is reasonable and workable.

In case any of the technology partners fail in their obligations severe penalising clauses also are incorporated. At that time I thought to protect railways against private company mis-behaving. I never imagined Konkan Railway will be directed to misbehave by the Ministry. But the severe penalty clauses will apply to any one who misbehaves breaking the obligations.

The ACD needs a continuous development cycles because, we have a road map which finally makes the technology replace all existing visible signaling. One cannot have multiple vendors for such technology development effort, because plenty of research and development effort has to happen with specifications being fluid.

After successful implementation of ACD network in the worst possible field conditions, India should be proud of its achievement. We have all safeguards for protecting our interests and Konkan Railway is the PSU which supplies the equipment. They do this with their technology partners with whom they have long term continuous working agreements for controlling all the processes involved. In normal course we should have seen ACDs protecting our people by this time.

But the multi-national companies which have much to lose if ACD comes in operation, have consistenly been fighting a proxy technology war using our own retired and even working railway officers. At every stage of development, hurdles were raised. But for another honest and committed Shri Nitish Kumar in your position, they would have prevented ACD from being implemented in NF railway.

Be as it may, during Shri Lalus's they succeeded in getting an inquiry ordered in the manner of development of ACD, but to their dismay found no cause for taking action to close ACD. But they wasted time of three years and also demoralised staff and officers.

Having found nothin wrong finally it was announced in parliament too that ACD would be implemented even by Shri Lalu Prasad Ji. That makes three successive Minsiters, first yourself, then Shri Nitish Ji and then Shri Lalu Ji too.

Now as destiny would have it you are there. But a new game to sabotage the project has been initiated.

Some one in the Board seems to have threatened the MD Konakn Railway that he must fix multi-vendors. It is ridiculous. A technology partnership agreement cannot be converted into a routine stores and procurement process. I came to know from staff of Konkan Railway that they will now freshly start developing the ACD!!! Letters to drop the private company who worked for a decade to develop have been issued. Threats of violating stores code and vigilance angles are being used now against the officers concerned.

Konkan Railway is a vendor to Indian Railways. If Rly Board wants multi-vendors, then RDSO should be asked to develop additional vendors. They have a huge budget too. But not Konkan Railway.

So to cover tracks, an attempt is being made by Konakn Railway to do in house development work That means the clock is put back to 1999. Multinationals and their agents in Board are happyy for this development. They can now sell their product at 10 times the cost of ACD, even though they are unable to achieve the performance of ACDs in preventing mid-section accidents of collisions.

The implications are that Konkan Railway will face serious legal challenge including financial losses for their unilateral and arbitrary action because the very survival of the private company which devoted their 10 years of working for ACD is in question. Indian Railways after having spent money for proving ACD will still have no ACD and spend ten times more to get less effective foreign solutions.

In the courts of law both Ministry and Konkan Railway will be forced to explain their strange and irrational behaviour. So instead of glory for producing a world class product, we end up with ridicule in India and internationally too.

Who gains? The lobbies which worked hard to get their product chosen from foreign companies. they will not hesitate to use any means right or wrong including abusing the vigilance process and insecurity of railway officers.

It is paradoxical that an honest group like Didi, Sri Manmohan Singh and indirectly Smt Sonia Gandhi will preside over this annihilation of an Indian show piece.

Personally I have nothing to gain by writing to you-- as you know all the patent rights I had donated to the nation. It is for you to take care of the ACDs for the President of India.

As I said earlier, had it been any other person than you, I would not even attempt to write openly like this. I would consider it is fate of our country.

It is still not too late. I can only appeal for some good sense to prevail and stop this insulting ridicule of development of technology in India.

With regards,

( B. Rajaram)
Dt 5th April 2010


The Hon'ble Minsiter of Railway
Rail Bhavan New Delhi

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home