Railways readies Rs 90,000 crore freight optimization projects | So Good News
The Ministry of Railways will roll out projects worth Rs 90,000 crore in the coming months to remove bottlenecks in the movement of goods, Union Minister for Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Sunday.
“Now we have identified projects worth Rs 90,000 crore, or $10 billion, to remove all potential bottlenecks in the movement of goods. Some of these are small projects, some are larger in scale. The projects will be sanctioned in the coming months, and will help us realize the ambition of loading 3,000 million tonnes (mt) of cargo,” Vaishnaw said at the 17th Foundation Day of Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd (DFCC).
The minister did not elaborate on the details of the new projects, which are being closely monitored for rollout by Railway Board Chairman VK Tripathi. At the start of the fiscal year, the ministry had rolled out a Rs1.5 trillion procurement plan to boost railway performance.
“The Prime Minister sincerely believes that the only way to transform the Indian economy is to transform the Indian Railways. This shows that support for railways is foremost in the minds of the top management in this country, said the railway minister.
Under Mission 3000, the national carrier intends to double its cargo from 1,418 tonnes in 2021-22 to 3,000 tonnes by 2027. It is widely understood that dedicated freight corridors (DFCs) will play a key role in this endeavour. So far, 56 percent of the railways’ two DFCs are operational, with completion of a majority of the network expected by 2023.
With these infrastructure plans, the ministry would need extensive funding, particularly through budget support, as previous public-private partnership (PPP) efforts by railways did not elicit a strong response.
“Through the support of the railway officials, we could get another Rs 12,000 crore from the Center for this financial year. Now we should aim to reach at least Rs 2 trillion as capital support from the general budget for railways,” said Vaishnaw, in the context of the need for railways must carry out more capital investments to achieve their ambitions of a modal logistics share of 40 per cent. under the National Railway Plan. The Ministry of Railways was allocated Rs 1.37 trillion as budgetary support in the Union Budget 2021-22
Addressing the ceremony, DFCC Managing Director RK Jain said that a new state-of-the-art command center for the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC) will soon be launched in Ahmedabad, which will provide a fillip to vital industrial goods traffic in the country. WDFC connects major ports like Mundra, Kandla and Pipavav.
Meanwhile, the DFCC, which is already working on the project reports for three new DFCs – East Coast, East-West and North-South – may have a different view in the future. The minister sought that the PSU should look at less focused freight corridors for short distances, where the potential for revenue growth and cargo loading is significant, such as corridors between ports and large mining areas.
Business Standard had earlier reported that the Center may take out the three new DFCs to improve existing corridors and create less focused routes branching off from the existing Eastern and Western DFCs.