Let’s take China track on rlys: PM | india | Hindustan Times
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Let’s take China track on rlys: PM

india Updated: Oct 19, 2009 01:48 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, 77, has asked the Planning Commission to prepare a road map to reform Indian Railways, the country’s biggest passenger and freight carrier. India-China comparison

The benchmark: the fast expanding Chinese rail network.

Chinese railways was behind its Indian counterpart till late 1980s. But now it carries four times more freight and is expanding three times faster than the Indian railways.

On an average China is adding 1,000 km of tracks every year since 1992 as compared to less than 100 km for Indian Railways.

As conveyed to the plan panel deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia this week, the Prime Minister wants to emulate the Chinese model to stimulate economic growth. Another objective is to make railways more competitive and reduce India’s carbon dioxide emissions without effecting growth.

The Prime Minister’s letter comes after a review meeting with Ahluwalia last Monday on the ambitious dedicated freight corridor project and other public private participation schemes.

The Rs 28,000-crore (Rs 280 billion) freight corridor project has been proceeding at a snail’s pace. Other big ticket projects like world class railway stations and high speed corridors for bullet trains have made little progress due to lack of interest of private investors.

On the other hand, China has been rapidly expanding its rail infrastructure in to remote regions. It recently announced investments worth about Rs.5,000 crore (50 billion) for laying rail lines in Tibet.

Indian Railways are moving slowly. There are unfinished projects worth Rs 65,000 crore (Rs 650 billion) because of paucity of resources. It needs private investment worth Rs 20,000 crore (Rs 200 billion) to complete these projects in the stipulated time, says a panel document.

“China had invested $42,000 billion on railway infrastructure compared to $900 billion by India in the last 10 years,” said a Planning Commission official not willing to be quoted.

Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee, 54, has also initiated a process of bringing out a “White Paper” on the operational and financial health of the Indian Railways.

The document may be placed in Parliament during the winter session beginning next month.Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, 77, has asked the Planning Commission to prepare a road map to reform Indian Railways, the country’s biggest passenger and freight carrier.

The benchmark: the fast expanding Chinese rail network.

Chinese railways was behind its Indian counterpart till late 1980s. But now it carries four times more freight and is expanding three times faster than the Indian railways.

On an average China is adding 1,000 km of tracks every year since 1992 as compared to less than 100 km for Indian Railways.

As conveyed to the plan panel deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia this week, the Prime Minister wants to emulate the Chinese model to stimulate economic growth. Another objective is to make railways more competitive and reduce India’s carbon dioxide emissions without effecting growth.

The Prime Minister’s letter comes after a review meeting with Ahluwalia last Monday on the ambitious dedicated freight corridor project and other public private participation schemes.

The Rs 28,000-crore (Rs 280 billion) freight corridor project has been proceeding at a snail’s pace. Other big ticket projects like world class railway stations and high speed corridors for bullet trains have made little progress due to lack of interest of private investors.

On the other hand, China has been rapidly expanding its rail infrastructure in to remote regions. It recently announced investments worth about Rs.5,000 crore (50 billion) for laying rail lines in Tibet.

Indian Railways are moving slowly. There are unfinished projects worth Rs 65,000 crore (Rs 650 billion) because of paucity of resources. It needs private investment worth Rs 20,000 crore (Rs 200 billion) to complete these projects in the stipulated time, says a panel document.

“China had invested $42,000 billion on railway infrastructure compared to $900 billion by India in the last 10 years,” said a Planning Commission official not willing to be quoted.

Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee, 54, has also initiated a process of bringing out a “White Paper” on the operational and financial health of the Indian Railways.

The document may be placed in Parliament during the winter session beginning next month.