Wagon manufacturers are disappointed with the Railways decision not to increase orders next fiscal.

Around half a dozen wagon makers have been facing difficult times in the past few years as orders from the Railways turn erratic.

The Railway Budget for 2013-14 has kept the figure for procurement of wagons unchanged at 16,000 units.

“This is much lower than the estimates envisaged by the Vision 2020 document and also the 12th Plan document, which envisaged the wagon procurement to be close to 25,000 units every year.

“We do believe that the Railways should continue to create capacity to handle enhanced loading and, therefore, we were hoping for a higher wagon acquisition target in FY 14”, said Umesh Choudhary, Chief Executive Officer of Titagarh Wagons Ltd.

According to Ramesh Maheshwari, Executive Vice-Chairman of Texmaco Rail & Engineering Ltd, there is an urgent need for paradigm shift in rolling stock, including wagons, procurement based on afive-year plan on a rolling basis. “The freight earnings are basic sustenance of the Indian Railways but unfortunately, the huge potential to boost the freight earnings by extended network and a long-term plan for procurement of wagons, is being missed out owing to erratic planning”, he said. Maheshwari, however, felt that the plan to introduce long haul train carrying 10,000 tonnes freight load was a welcome step.

“The annual plan for FY 14 at Rs 63,400 crore, up by about 20 per cemt on the current year spending, gives rise to some hope for enhanced off-take of rolling stock”, he added.

According to Choudhary, Railway Budget benefits for the wagon industry remained indirect this time around.

The four per cent increase in freight loading target and Rs 12,000 crore capital expenditure plan (through PPP mode) for the last-mile connectivity for the miners could prove to be a boon for the wagon industry, he thought.

“The announcement of adding more suburban trains is also a strong positive for us as we are also in the business of manufacturing EMU trains”, he added.

jayanta.mallick@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 27, 2013)
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