Pvt investors to be roped in for projects to protect rly properties

In a first of its kind initiative, the Northern Railway is exploring idea to allow private investment in projects to protect its properties. The Northern Railway is planning to construct walls along the railway tracks laid in its jurisdiction to prevent trespassing and accidents. The project would come up on PPP model. The project is aimed at protecting the railway properties from the miscreants apart from checking fatal accidents like the cases of run overs.

The Railways have issued Expression of Interest, inviting private players to construct walls on either sides of the rail tracks between Nizamuddin and Palwal railway stations. The investors, in turn, will be able to earn revenue by advertising on the walls. The project will start on a trial basis on the Nizamuddin-Palwal stretch. The length of rail tracks between the two stations is around 50 kms. With the cost of constructing walls on both the sides of rail tracks estimated to be around `2 crore per km, the entire project would cost `100 crore. “However, facing financial crunch to complete several infrastructural projects, the railways decided to rope in private companies,” said a senior official.

Officials said considering the number of accidents on Nizamuddin-Palwal stretch and the cases of encroachment on the railways’ land, this stretch has been identified for the pilot project. This stretch also witnesses a lot of trespassing, both by the people and cattle. “Similar projects would be initiated in other stretches of the division, once the pilot project is successful,” they said. The tendering process for the project will start soon after the interested parties submit their plan of action accepting the terms and conditions.

As per the expression of interest issued, the contractors would be required to construct a 2.5 metre high wall on both the sides, with additional fencing of the wall with metallic wires, officials said. The investor, in return would be allowed to earn revenue by allowing advertisement on the walls as well as erecting 1.2 metre high poles on the walls for advertisement. “The advertisement rights would be given for a certain number of years. Since Railway would continue to retain the ownership of the land on which the wall would come up, the advertisement rights would be given to other companies by open bidding after the contract of the builder ceased. It would generate extra revenue for the railways,” northern railway officials said.

Notably, measures like prosecuting trespassers by the railway authorities under section 147 of the Railway Act – which invites cash penalty, or imprisonment or both – has failed to yield result as a total of 823 people have lost their lives in accidents on rail tracks till September this year in the Delhi area itself. While a total of 1,485 people died on rail tracks in the area last year, 1,634 people died in 2010. Similarly, the fatal accident numbers stood at 1,555 in 2009.



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