December 17, 2016 4:08:57 pm
Railways is working out a comprehensive strategy to deal with its immediate concerns like customer satisfaction, perking up loadings and infrastructure development like station redevelopment. “Railways needs structural changes, that is reform. It is suffering because of lack of investment so you need investments. But our immediate concern is customer satisfaction, punctuality, freight,” Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said at the FICCI conference.
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Referring to the reforms being undertaken in railways, Prabhu said the conference’s theme is sustaining high growth. “Reform is a continuous process. But unless you refine the goal…it will not be a successful,” he said.
On the ambitious station redevelopment plan, he said, “We have come out with different models for station redevelopment plan. While our Habibgunj station is a PPP model, Bhubaneswar station is being developed by the state government.”
He said Gandhinagar station is being redeveloped by both the state and the Centre with 76 per cent and 24 per cent equity participation respectively.
Surat station is also being developed with the participation of the state, Centre and railways, he said, adding, it will be part of the multi-modal transportation system.
Referring to joint ventures with state governments for rail infrastructure development, he said it helps in addressing land acquisition, law and problems in the state.
“If 10 km line is laid in a state then 100 km long line can be built with 10 states,” he said.
Stressing on the need for infrastructure development, he said, “One cannot just discuss it academically. We must work on it. Railways is suffering for lack of infrastructure development. We must find resources for investment.”
He said railways stepped up investment in last 2 years. “Our investment is 3 times higher than the last 10 years’ average. Besides gross budgetary support, we want resources from extra budgetary sources also,” the minister added.
He said public investment is also crucial and referred to the two mega locomotive factories in Madhepura and Marhora in Bihar. These are two big ticket projects involving Rs 40,000 crore, he said. Stressing on the need for non fare revenue (NFR), he said, “We are going beyond traditional revenue sources like passenger fares and freight.
“Our expenditure has gone up, including salary and pension. Our freight growth is extremely low,” he added. Highlighting the potential of advertisement, he said, “With six billion footfalls, advertisement is a big resources of revenue. Recently we started a vinyl wrapping train also.”
Referring to reforms, he said now powers have been delegated to General Managers and Divisional Railway Managers. Empowerment coupled with accountability is being worked out.
He said recently the Rail Vikash Shivir was organised, involving thousands of railway men, and several ideas were generated through crowd sourcing. “Now we are working with those ideas to implement them,” he added.
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