Govt to rope in private companies to build rail network

NEW DELHI: The government has decided to rope in the private sector for building rail lines and connectivity projects to create additional rail transport capacity in the country.

The railway ministry has come out with a new scheme, which would provide discounts on freight charges to private companies that invest in rail connectivity projects. “The policy aims at making railways a more competitive option for prospective customers and also help increase the railways’ freight business,” said an official.

Significantly the scheme, which is applicable to new line proposals that are over 20 kilometres in length, also allows private players to build railway lines on privately acquired non-railway land. They would be expected to enter into a contract with railways to operate and maintain the line for a period of 30 years. Railways will levy a fee up to 4% on the earnings from such lines.

Railways has also provided three other investment options to private players, barring iron ore and coal miners.