The Indian Railways on 31 August 2017 signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with Switzerland for technical cooperation and to establish George Fernandes Institute of Tunnel Technology (GFITT) in Goa. The MoUs were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Swiss Confederation President Doris Leuthard, who is on a three-day state visit.
According to Railways, the first MoU is between the Railway Ministry and the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport and Communications of the Swiss Confederation for technical cooperation in rail sector. The MoU is a follow-up on bilateral cooperation in rail sector discussed in the meeting held between Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Swiss Ambassador to India Andreas Baum in July 2016.
The MOU aims at cooperation in the areas of traction rolling stock, EMU and train sets, traction propulsion equipments, freight and passenger cars, tilting trains, railway electrification equipments, train scheduling and operation improvement, railway station modernisation, multimodal transport and tunnelling technology. The second MoU was signed between Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich.
According to Railways, the GFITT aims not only to train Konkan Railways’ own manpower for its tunnelling projects but also wishes to generate qualified and trained personnel for the benefit of other government organisations, private sector and even foreign organisations to bridge the huge gap in levels of knowledge and qualified manpower required to meet the key segment of infrastructure development in India.