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Friday, 16 March 2012

Cash-strapped railways plans companies to develop stations, offer logistics and banish unmanned crossings


Cash-strapped railways plans companies to develop stations, offer logistics and banish unmanned crossings

Railway Budget
New Delhi, March 14, (PTI): Union Railway minister Dinesh Trivedi on Wednesday announced a flurry of corporations with specific goals, ranging from abolishing unmanned level crossings to redeveloping stations and even providing logistics solutions.
Presenting the railway budget for 2012-13 in the Lok Sabha, Trivedi said the government would set up a special purpose vehicle, the Rail Road Grade Separation Corp of India, to fund the abolition of all unmanned level crossings within five years.
Trivedi said improving safety is his first concern. To this end, he proposed an independent and statutory Railway Safety Authority.
His other goals are consolidation, decongestion and capacity augmentation, modernisation and lowering the operating ratio to 84.9% in 2012-2013 from 90% currently. In other words, by improving efficiency, the railways will spend less on running itself and have more left over for investing.
During the 12th Five Year Plan, which runs from 2012 to 2017, Indian Railways proposes to invest Rs 7.35 lakh crore against Rs 1.92 lakh crore in the 11th plan. The railway safety plan alone will be for Rs 16,842 crore.
The annual plan for the Railways for 2012-13 has been pegged at Rs 60,100 crore, the highest ever, while it will get a gross budgetary support of Rs 24,000 crore from the government, against a requirement of Rs 45,000 crore.
On the modernisation front, Trivedi said the focus would be on around 19,000 km of railway tracks that cater to 80 per cent of traffic.
Among the corporations he announced are the Indian Railways Stations Development Corp, which will redevelop stations and maintain them on the pattern of airports, and a Logistics Corporation that will provide logistics solutions for rail users.