Rlys to study feasibility of running bullet trains

India’s bullet train dream has moved a step closer. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor is expected to be the country’s first high-speed route as railways has given the green signal for a detailed study to explore the possibility of running trains at 300 km per hour.

The national transporter is expected to sign an MoU with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which will conduct the feasibility study for the corridor.

France and Japan are competing for the project. While RITES and Systra, a French firm, had carried out the pre-feasibility study of the route, the Japanese study is expected to be more detailed.

The study will be completed in 18 months and the cost will be shared by railways and JICA. The funding pattern, alignment, patronage, possible halts, fare structure and other details of the project would be examined.

The 534-km Mumbai-Ahmedabad route is expected to cost Rs 63,000 crore. Considered a key infrastructure project, the PMO is monitoring the project and has asked railways to constitute a project steering group to examine options for executing it. It is likely to be executed on PPP model where governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat are expected to be stakeholders along with railways.

Railways has identified six routes for pre-feasibility study for high speed corridors including Delhi-Agra-Patna, Howrah-Haldia, Chennai-Bangalore-Thiruvananthapuram and Delhi-Amritsar. TNN


Food Bill May Boost Freight Movement of Railways: Official

Indian Railways expects a huge movement of food grains across the country, once the UPA government’s proposed Food Security Bill is passed, a senior official said here today.

D P Pande, General Manager of South-Central Railway said the national carrier encourages private freight terminals under the PPP model to meet the future cargo handling demand from all sectors.

“As per our estimation, with Food Security Bill, there will be a major increase in the rail movement across the country. In Andhra, as a strong producer of food grains, there will be an increased movement,” Pande told reporters in a press conference.

The landmark legislation aims at giving legal right over a uniform quantity of 5 kg food grains at a fixed price of Rs 1-3 per kg via ration shops to 67 per cent of the population.

He said the cement industry in the country has made investments worth nearly Rs 30,000 crore to increase capacities which would be required for transportation.

According to him, the major constraint for Railways is terminals. Freight handling terminals have to be increased proportionate to tonnage.

“That is why we promulgated private freight terminal policy. Anybody, who can set up a terminal in a private property, we will provide the authority to handle goods and he can charge the customers,” Pande explained.

The Ministry of Railways, in 2010, had finalised policy on Private Freight Terminal (PFT) with the participation of the private sector.

The main objectives of this policy are to enable rapid development of network for freight terminals with private investment to integrate rail transport with supply chain to provide efficient and cost effective logistic to end users.

It would also provide a new business opportunity to the investor who gets rail access to handle third party cargo. This policy has become effective from 31st May, 2010.

Pande said South Central Railway aims to garner Rs 11,700 crore revenue in the current fiscal as against Rs 10,036 crore last year.


Railway retiring rooms renovated under PPP mode

The South Western Railways’ Mysore Railway station has become the first in the country with its retiring rooms being renovated under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode. SWR sources told UNI that the scheme has been taken up under Renovation Operation and Transfer (ROT) basis and Mysore’s success story was now a role model for 25 other railway divisions in the country to follow the PPP concept.

Retiring rooms at Shimoga and Davangere in the Mysore division would also be taken up for renovation under the PPP model. The retiring rooms, renovated by Sandesh Group of Hotels, was inaugurated by the Divisional Railway Manager, Vinod Kumar, on the eve of the dasara festivities.

Bona fide railway passengers would be treated to three-star comforts at reasonable tariff, he added. The Indian Railways had in 2006 decided to offload some of its non-core activities like managing retiring rooms and rope in specialists in their respective domain under the PPP model. But it had no takers and the Mysore division infused a new life into it by successfully roping in a private entrepreneur. Senior Divisional Commercial Manager Anup Dayanand Sadhu pointed out that the Mysore division incurred a loss of Rs.10 lakh in maintaining the retiring rooms which entailed diversion of its scarce staff to non-core duties. But under the current agreement, the Sandesh Group would pay it Rs.5 lakh by way of licence fee, and an additional Rs.5 lakh as annual user charger will add to the railway’s revenue. MORE UNI BSP GV ADB1105 NNNN

— (UNI)