Modern Trolleys for Senior Citizens likely

Railways propose to introduce modern trolleys at all important stations which will be handled by uniformed attendants to assist senior citizens and women passengers in boarding and alighting from trains alongwith their luggage comfortably. The modalities for implementation are under finalization.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways, Shri K.H. Muniyappa in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.

Published in: on April 18, 2010 at 5:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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First Metro station under public-private partnership model

BANGALORE: Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa on Thursday laid the foundation stone for the Sampige Road station of Namma Metro being taken up under public-private partnership with the Mantri Infrastructure Pvt., Ltd., a unit of Mantri Developers.

Speaking after laying the foundation stone, Mr. Yeddyurappa hailed the initiative and wished such PPP benefitting both the public and the private should be explored more.

Recalling setting aside Rs. 600 crore for Namma Metro in the budget, Mr. Yeddyurappa claimed that the Metro work picked up the speed only after Bahratiya Janata Party Government came to power. As of now, more than 20 per cent of the civil work is complete, he added.

Stating that his Government was committed to improving urban infrastructure, Mr. Yeddyurappa said Rs. 18,000 crore would be spent during the next three years in Bangalore to augment the infrastructure. He reiterated that Reach 1 of Namma Metro between Byappanahalli and M.G. Road would be operational by December.

A release from Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd., said the 5.04-acre property acquired by the corporation from Mantri divided the latter’s property into two parts. The agreement envisages providing land free of cost for the construction of the Sampige Road Metro Station by the developer. The right use of the space surrounding the station for commercial purposes is what the compensation the developer gets. During the 99-year period of the lease, Bangalore Metro gets a share of the revenues earned from the property, ranging from 1 per cent to 5 per cent.

Mantri Developers would construct the station, measuring 80,000 square feet as per the design, standards and specifications approved by Bangalore Metro within 20 months.

A commercial complex measuring 8 lakh square feet would also come up surrounding the station with parking facility for 2,000 cars.

Direct access to the commercial building and the mall from the Station would be provided, Bangalore Metro said.

Presiding over the ceremony, Gandhinagar MLA Dinesh Gundu Rao urged Bangalore Metro to complete the construction and throw open Namma Metro services at the earliest.

Railways draft 2 PPP models for line laying

New Delhi: Indian Railways (IR) have drawn up two distinct financing models to partner private sector players in its ambitious plan to add 25,000 km to its rail network of 64,000 km by 2020. Under both the models, the Railways would form special purpose vehicles (SPVs) with private players, but will have different revenue-sharing patterns and land acquisition methods.

Rail network expansion, hitherto being done through IR’s own funds and borrowings, is the single largest component of the proposed Rs 14-lakh-crore expansion of the railway infrastructure over the next 10 years.

By one financing model proposed in the ministry’s draft policy, the Railways will contribute 26% equity in the SPV. The land will be acquired by zonal railway at SPV’s cost but its ownership will vest with the Railways. In return to laying the rail lines, the SPV will get a share in the revenue for 25 years. For project related traffic, the SPV will get 95% of freight apportionment less maintenance cost for the first 10 years and 90% of freight allotment less maintenance cost for next 15 years. Of non-project related traffic, the company will receive 80% of the freight traffic after deducting the maintenance cost for 25 years.

The second model is what is called the ‘private line model’. Here, the private players will lay down new lines on their own land and will share the revenue for 30 years with IR, after which the ownership of the line and land will go to the Railways.

“Only those new line proposals which are 20 km or more in length shall be eligible under this policy. Further, the new line proposal would require to have an acceptable rate of return of minimum 14 %. This policy shall not be applicable to lines intending to provide connectivity to coal mines and iron ore mines directly or indirectly,” the draft policy states.

The Railways have added only 180 km a year on an average since Independence, when the rail network was 53,596 km. It now has a backlog of 11,985-km projects stuck for want of funds.

“Our target is to add 25,000 km of new lines in the next 10 years. This has to be achieved by removing various constraints. We have to make a beginning. The time has come for the business community to come and join hands to build partnerships with railways,” railway minister Mamta Banerjee had said while announcing Rail Budget.

Published in: on April 18, 2010 at 4:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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Railways moots 4 models for private players

New Delhi: Indian Railways has proposed four public-private partnership (PPP) models — cost-sharing freight rebate, full contribution, SPV, and private line — for network expansion.

A meeting is scheduled for April 17 between rail ministry officials and representatives of private sector companies on the issue.

Termed as Railways Infrastructure Initiative for Industry (R3i), the scheme to develop the rail lines is focused on incentivising the private sector to work in tandem with Railways and provide connectivity to the areas that are not covered.

As per the cost-sharing freight rebate model, the contribution of the applicant should not be less than 50%.

“The applicant will recover its investment through a rebate of 10-12% on incremental traffic. This will be valid till the advance contribution made by it is recovered or for a period of 10 years, whichever being earlier. This is, however, subject to the condition that 30% of the advance should be recovered within the first five years after the commissioning of the line,” said the draft policy document on R3i.

In the full contribution apportioned earning model, the applicant will make 100% contribution to the project cost. The applicant will construct and maintain the line for a period of 25 years.

“Railways would levy a licence of 2% from the applicant’s share of earnings net of operations and maintenance (O&M) costs for the first 10 years from the date of commissioning and 4% thereafter till the completion of 25 years,” it said. At the end of the 25 year period, the revenue would accrue to the Railways. In the SPV model, the Railways’ share in the special purpose vehicle will be 26%. “SPV shall be granted a concession, a share in the revenues generated on the project line, in lieu of construction, operation and maintenance of the line,” it said.Private line model would apply when a private line is built by the applicant on privately acquired land and connectivity is sought to the Railways’ network. The applicant will construct and maintain the line for a period of 30 years and pay licence fee of 2% to 4% to the Railways through the period.

Eco-friendly train launched in Gujarat

Bilimora (Gujarat), April 14 (ANI): To make train travel more environment-friendly, a bio diesel train has been launched in Bilimora city of Gujarat.

This is the first bio-diesel train in the western division of Indian Railways. It uses a blended fuel, a mix of 10 percent bio-diesel.

The Railway has already introduced several such trains in other divisions.

Officials claimed that this blended fuel would reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide by a greater extent without affecting the engine.

On Wednesday, P.K. Sharma, Divisional Railway Manager, Mumbai Division, flagged off the train that will cover 51kilometers between Bilimora and Baghai.

“This train is environment-friendly as it runs on bio-diesel…the railway is also taking other steps to preserve environment like introduction of bio-degradable toilets and other measures to preserve environment. We are trying to explore all areas,” said P.K. Sharma.

Indian Railways, which has one of the largest networks of trains in the world, is also taking other measures to conserve environment.

Bio-diesel is a diesel-equivalent, processed fuel derived from biological sources i.e. vegetable oils, which can be used in unmodified diesel-engined vehicles. (ANI)

Railways to bring new catering policy soon

According to a PTI report, amid increasing complaints from passengers about the quality of food served in trains, Indian Railways said that its new catering policy will be unveiled soon. S S Khurana, Chairman, Railway Board said, “We would soon unveil our catering policy.”

The policy, which is expected to lay new rules for awarding contracts for catering services in trains and put in several checks and balances, has gone through several drafting stages. Senior railways officials said the purpose behind the exercise was to ensure that it stands to all legal scrutiny.

In the meantime, Indian Railways have decided to supervise catering services in two premier trains leaving from Howrah. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation limited (IRCTC) a Railway subsidiary which looks after catering services of Railways, has come under scrutiny in the face of passenger complaints.

Automobile hub in Shalimar a success: Railways

New Delhi, Apr 17 (PTI) The Railways today said its first automobile hub in Shalimar in West Bengal, offering logistical solution to car makers, has achieved success with several manufacturers including the Tatas using it.

“Several players, including the Tatas with their Nano, have been using the facility for the last two months for meeting their logistical requirements,” said Railway Board Member (Traffic) Vivek Sahai.

Railways plan to operate 10 more such hubs around the country under public-private partnership mode, the draft policy of which was discussed threadbare today with industry representatives including those from Society of India Automobile Manufacturers here.

Automobile hub seeks to provide car makers space for parking their vehicles in large numbers before dispatching them to the retail shops as per requirement. The cars are transported to the hub through railway, also eliminating problem encountered in transporting cars through trucks.–Railways

Consultation with Industry on Public Private Partnership (PPP) Policy

In yet another landmark initiative undertaken by Ministry of Railways to attract private participation in various railway projects, an Interactive Workshop was held here today by the Railways with the representatives of Chambers of Commerce & Industry to obtain their feed back on a number of policy initiatives involving private participation which have recently been formulated. The formulation of the policies by Ministry of Railways comes up following the historical and unprecedented pre-budget interaction with trade and industry representatives held by Minister of Railways Mamata Banerjee on 6th Feb. this year. The historical February interaction saw Railway Minister and the entire Railway Board in a direct two-way dialogue with the captains of the trade and industry. Today’s workshop has been organized against the backdrop of Railway Minister’s ardent desire to involve all the stake-holders in an honest dialogue as an integral part of the formulation of major policy initiatives of Indian Railways.

In his address, Shri S.S.Khurana, Chairman, Railway Board recalled that the theme of the pre budget interaction of the Railway Minister was to underscore the fact that a range of exciting opportunities for public private partnership in the Railways exists and to tap these opportunities, focused attention was needed in two areas, namely structuring of projects and schemes to make them attractive and procedural simplification. Shri Khurana thanked the industry participants for their enthusiastic response and also highlighted the importance that the Ministry attaches to consultation process involving users and stake holders in formulating Private Participation initiatives so as to make them attractive and acceptable.

The workshop was attended by around 150 Industry delegates representing CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA), Fertilizers Association of India, Society of India Automobile Manufacturers, Association of Container Operators, Federation of Indian Mineral Industry and National Highway Builders Federation. The top echelons of the Ministry of Railways including the Chairman, the Members of Railway Board and Dr.Amit Mitra, Chairman, of the Expert Committee participated in the workshop and responded to the comments and suggestions of the participants.

Several policy initiatives were announced in the Minister’s Budget speech following her pre-budget interaction in February 2010. Several of these initiatives have now crystalised into draft policies. Four such policies, viz., a New policy for port connectivity and other connectivity works (named New R3i policy-Railways’ Infrastructure for Industry Initiative), private freight terminal policy, special freight train operation scheme and policy on auto and ancillary hubs were recently uploaded on the Ministry’s website for consultation and the delegates had been invited in this workshop to provide their feedback on these policies so that their suggestions could be considered before their notification.

Salient features of these policies were presented and a number of useful suggestions to make the policies attractive and viable were received in the course of the interaction. This would help in giving finishing touch to the polices so that the final notified polices would be able to achieve their intended purpose of kindling adequate investor interest and speeding up the process of augmentation of terminal/line capacity and rolling stock.

A number of useful suggestions from the industry delegates were also received in respect of the polices/projects currently under consideration in the Ministry namely, construction of segments of DFC, newline/doubling and gauge conversion projects, connectivity projects to link coal and iron ore mines, setting up of bottling plants for clean drinking water, construction of multi-level parking complexes at stations and laying of Optic Fibre Cables.

Ticketing machines at railway stations

Railways have decided to install nearly 900 Automatic Ticket Vending machines at stations across the country for the convenience of daily commuters and reduce queues at counters during rush hours.
The machines would be installed at important stations across Northern Railway including in Delhi besides stations in South Eastern Railway, Eastern Railway, South Central Railway, East Coast Railway, Central Railway and Western Railway, said a Railway Ministry official.

The vending machines, which operate like ATMs, were first introduced a couple of years back in Central Railway, Western Railway and Southern Railway.

“The response was much to our satisfaction. Railways have now decided to install 896 more machines across the country,” he said. Smart cards will be used to purchase the tickets. Passengers can select the destination by making a choice on the touch screen. The procedure is similar to drawing cash from an ATM.
Sources in Northern Railway said they are already in the advanced stages of installing the machines at New Delhi station, while plans are afoot to install them at other major stations across Delhi Division.

As per plans, Northern Railway will have 150 such machines installed while South Eastern Railway and Eastern Railway will get 200 machines each. Western Railway, known for its busy Mumbai suburban section will get 75 machines in addition to 125 machines which were introduced earlier in 28 stations under its jurisdiction.

Railways draft policy to encourage pvt investment

The railway ministry has launched a major initiative to encourage private investments in infrastructure projects. A detailed policy has been drafted in this regard.

A senior ministry official said, “Due to a resource crunch in the railways, we are looking at alternative sources of funding for developing infrastructure projects. We are going to hold discussions on the draft policies with the Chambers of Commerce and Industry on Saturday to gauge the response of private players on such initiatives.”

The draft policy deals with constructing railway tracks, developing private freight terminals, automobile and ancillary hubs and private operation of special freight trains on the network.

To increase rail share in freight traffic, for instance, the ministry has evolved a policy to build rail connectivity projects spanning over 20 km with private sector participation. The minimum rate of return for such projects has been determined at 14 per cent.

One of the models being considered is the ‘cost-sharing freight rebate scheme’ under which the private players will share the cost of developing the new line and get a discount of 10-12 per cent on incremental traffic transported on the network. Besides, new lines can also be constructed under ‘full contribution apportioned earning mode’, SPV model and private line model.

“In the full contribution model the private entity in the project will finance the building of the rail link, and in return receive apportioned earnings for a period of 25 years,” said the official.

To increase the modal share of railways in automobile transportation, the ministry had announced the setting up of 10 auto hubs at Santragachi, Shalimar, Siliguri, Ranchi, Guwahati, Patna and Hosur among other places last November. The proposed policy says railways will make surplus land available to private players on license for a period of three years, to be extended every year thereafter. The private party in turn will be responsible for setting up facilities on the land.

Another official said, “Private players can recover costs by charging automobile customers for the services at the hub. However, the hub has to be built and made operational within a year of handing over of the land otherwise the license will be made null.” The hubs will not only serve as centres for transport of auto traffic, but also house aggregation facilities and serve as distribution points to immediate catchment areas.

Railways expects to earn around Rs 1000 crore per annum from the automobile hubs, he added. At present less than two per cent of automobiles manufactured in the country are transported through the railways. The railway hopes to increase such traffic to 15 per cent by 2015-16.

Similarly, for freight traffic the railways plans to provide integrated logistics solutions by engaging private players in developing and operating freight terminals. The operators can use the terminals for 20 years. The licence can be extended by another 10 years.

The terminal management company (TMC) will have to pay freight charges to the railways but can charge for value-added services from customers. The TMC can handle the bookings and delivery for all commodities except outbound coal, coke and iron ore.

The draft policy also has a ‘special freight train operation’ scheme that would allow private operators to invest in wagons and use the railway network for a period of 20 years. They can charge consumers for the services they offer.

Private investment in railways projects were mooted to be around 19 per cent between 2007-12. Till date, only Rs 2000 crore has been reliased from the sector against a target of over Rs 50000 crore.