Political uncertainty — coupled with scandals and faulty planning — is taking a severe toll on the financial and operational health of the Indian Railways.
Internal assessments say in the first two years of the 12th plan period, investments in the railways will be approximately half of the plan targets.
Against double the amount proposed for 2012-13 and 2013-14, the railways will be able to invest only Rs. 1,05,000 crore, according to calculations. The railways are trailing behind targets for capacity creation and physical output. The freight loading achieved in the first year of the plan is 1,010 MT against the plan target of 1,038 MT.
Given the trend, the target of achieving 1,405 MT freight loading in the terminal year of the plan (2016-17) remains a mirage.
Six ministers have led the railways in the past four years, wreaking havoc with the planning and procurement process.
The 12th plan envisages procurement of 1,05,659 wagons. But the process has remained stalled. “The slip-ups from the beginning of the five-year plan have arisen on account of unrealistic projections made by the Railway Board,” sources said.