Economy

Railways targeting higher revenue from freight movement this year

Our Bureau. New Delhi | Updated on July 17, 2020

The Railways is augmenting line capacity in areas where freight traffic is expected to grow Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

The Indian Railways is targeting higher revenue from freight movement this year to balance out the likely shortfall from passenger revenue. This was indicated by VK Yadav, Chairman, Railway Board, at a press conference here on Friday.

Stating that Railways is running 230 special passenger trains (which is a small fraction of large number of trains in the normal times), Yadav said it is in talks with State governments to start more trains. Reserved berths are more easily available in these trains given the occupancy levels, said Yadav. As of now, these trains are serving the requirement of people.

Passenger train time-table

On running more passenger trains, he said that Railways will have to wait for some more time and that they are in talks with the State governments. Railways has not yet worked on its passenger train time-table for the yearbecause of Covid-19.

To attract more freight, Railways is discussing various points with its customers; it is also planning freight rationalisation measures, extending discounts for certain certain routes, and improving the capacity at its good sheds so that the loading and unloading at good sheds increase.

Railways has planned a whole bunch of infrastructure projects that include constructing bridges, increasing capacity, among others, all of which will result in connecting capitals of the North Eastern States, making available train track capacity for passenger trains on the busiest of routesover the next few years.

This year, the government-planned capital outlay (for railway infrastructure projects) has been the same as budgeted (so far), the Chairman said, adding that the capital expenditure required for the next five years will cross ₹13-lakh crore.

On whether there has been an upward revision in the cost of running the bullet train, the Railway Board Chairman said that it is a continuous process and this not the right time to review the project. It will be clear when the tenders are invited and finalised. There is no re-negotiation with JICA, the funding agency for Delhi-Mumbai bullet train, he said. The Chairman also said that the cost of any mega project is revised depending on change in scope of work and design changes, among others.

Published on July 17, 2020

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