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Kolkata, May 17

THE Railway Board has set the freight traffic target for 2005-06 at 635 million tonnes (mt) against its actual throughput of nearly 602 mt in 2004-05, thus envisaging about 5.5 per cent growth. Last year's throughput at 602 mt represented an estimated 7.5 per cent growth about 560 mt in 2003-04.

Among the various zonal railways, South Central Railway (Bilaspur headquarter) has been given the highest target of 100 mt for 2005-06 against its actual achievement of 92.52 mt in 2004-05.

The corresponding figures for other zonal railways are: South Eastern (Kolkata) 78.75 mt (73.07 mt), East Coast (Bhubaneswar) 77 mt (70.46 mt), East Central (Hajipur,Bihar) 62 mt (58.25 mt), South Central (Secunderabad) 54 mt (51 mt), Central (Mumbai) 45.75 mt (42.98), Eastern (Kolkata) 45.10 mt (42.47 mt), Northern (Delhi) 43.5 mt (41.4 mt), South Western (Hubli, Karnataka) 36.9 mt (31.75 mt), Western (Mumbai) 30.5 mt (28.35 mt), Southern Railway (Chennai) 24.10 mt (23.19 mt), West Central (Jabalpur) 22 mt (19.97 mt) North Frontier (Maligaon, Assam) 10.75 mt (9.94 mt), North Western (Jaipur) 10.75 mt (9.05 mt) North Central (Allahabad) 6.3 mt (5.43 mt) and North Eastern (Gorakhpur, UP) 2.2 mt (2.06 mt).

It might be noted that the Rail Budget for 2005-06 indicated a target of 650 mt for the year. The Railway Minister subsequently set a vision of 700 mt for 2005-06, thus suggesting a growth of nearly 100 mt in one year. Such a huge jump in throughput, an estimated 16 per cent in one year, many in the Railways felt, was unachievable given the state of the infrastructure.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 18, 2005)
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