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Home arrow News arrow Railway arrow Indian Railways upgradation to cost Rs 14 lakh crore in next 10 years: ASSOCHAM
Indian Railways upgradation to cost Rs 14 lakh crore in next 10 years: ASSOCHAM Print E-mail
Written by Ganesh   
Friday, 19 August 2011
New Delhi: Indian Railways is neither efficient nor has a network extensive enough to cover the entire country with its capacity expansion and modernisation estimated to cost more than Rs 14 lakh crore over the next ten years, industry body ASSOCHAM stated.

The role of infrastructure support in terms of rail, road, ports and warehouses holds the key to economic success of a country. ASSOCHAM secretary general D.S. Rawat said the scale of manufacturing in India is fast changing across widely distributed clusters and so are the markets and sourcing locations.

With 14 lakh employees and an annual budget of Rs 57,630 crore, Indian Railways is the third largest network in the world. The country has a land area of 3,290 lakh square kilometers but rail lines measure up to 64,015 kilometres, up from 53,596 kilometres during the Independence in 1947.

More than just resource mobilisation, there should be emphasis on developing entrepreneurial and managerial skills that private sector can bring into rail transport with value addition for the end user, said The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

The average increase in route kilometres thus works out to 180 kilometres a year. Both developed and developing countries are spending hundreds of billion of dollars each year to add more route kilometres of new lines. China is spending 300 billion dollars (about Rs 14 lakh crore) over the next three years to expand and modernise its rail network.

“The fastest passenger carrying train in India cannot run at speed higher than 130 kilometres an hour,” said D.S. Rawat. “A passenger travelling from Dibrugarh in Assam to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu has to watch three sun rises and maybe four sun sets en route.”

With national economy set to grow at over eight per cent in current financial year, Indian Railways should adopt a customer focused approach and modern technology through public private partnership in construction of dedicated freight corridors, high speed rail corridors, world-class railway stations and multi-modal logistics parks.

“PPP projects can set up special purpose vehicles for manufacturing of locomotives, coaches and wagons,” said Mr Rawat. “Indian Railways also need to diversify beyond its major business of bulk transfer, strengthen its competitiveness and develop partnership with different stakeholders to provide inter-modal logistics.”

At the same time, there is a strong need for high speed inter-city passenger service to cope up with increasing demand.

Indian Railways log nearly 61,500 crore passenger kilometres and 44,000 crore tonne kilometres of traffic. It carries less than 20 per cent of total passenger traffic and 40 per cent of the country’s freight.

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