Pending projects in Indian Railways: 238.
Funds required: Rs 54,000 crore.
Hope: Private sector.
A MAJOR privatisation move is on the anvil in the Indian Railways. Railways stations, surplus land and warehouses are some of the assets that the Indian Railways was going to utilize to generate revenue for the completion of 238 projects.
“We are going to develop railway stations like airports,” said Chairman Railway Board (CRB) J P Batra. Sixteen railway stations had been identified across the country for upgradation, he said and added the only way of realizing the dream was to invite the private sector. About the expenses, Batra stated the railways would work out zero cost investment. Private players showing interest would exploit railway land for commercial purposes.
Last year the Railways generated Rs 13,000 crore, while the target for the year was Rs 20,000 crore. “But the funds are channelised for specific use including public amenities. Therefore it is necessary for railways to enter into JVs with private companies,” said Batra.
He said major companies like the Reliance, ITC etc had shown interests in the project and talks were on with them in this regard. “Warehouses could also be another source of income for the railways,” he said and added Rail Land Development Authority had been constituted to take care of this. The authority was to develop railway land for generating income.
TTCI (Transport Technology Centre Incorporation), a US based research Institute of the US Railways, would enter into join venture with the RDSO for 10 projects. “Seven projects have been decided, but the decision on three is not yet final,” said the CRB and added that the cost of completion of the project has been estimated at Rs 150 crore.
On lines of the Army, the Indian Railways has decided to enter into agreement with an IIT to depute its engineers for 2-year PG course in engineering. “This would enable us to acquire the required expertise,” said Batra.