The Unfolding Growth Story Of Indian Railways
The infrastructural planning and financing by the Indian Railways since 2014 have contributed significantly to the growth of the national transporter.
They say Rome was not built in a day and so is the case with Indian Railways’ unprecedented growth in the last one year — a result of change in railway infrastructural planning and financing from 2014 onwards.
With the aim of a 1,600 million tonnes (MT) loading target by 2023-24 as per a five-year vision document presented to the Prime Minister in December 2019, the railways has finalised the route based planning to meet the target.
We have undertaken a massive survey identifying additional routes for capacity enhancement such as highly utilised networks (HUN) in addition to the golden quadrilateral/golden diagonal routes, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with loading of goods.
The whole process of increasing the loading substantially with significant capacity enhancement started with the merger of Rail Budget with Union Budget and increasing railway capital expenditure (Capex) on infrastructure fivefold, said the official.
The action plan involves prioritisation of projects into super critical, critical and priority projects with strict timelines that were monitored at highest level and also working out new sources of capital funding such as institutional credit and equity funding through JV/SPVs.
Major strategic and policy changes as capacity started growing to attract more traffic and projects with high traffic return targeted for early completion.
This has resulted in throughput at all major interchange points such as Deen Dayal Upadhaya, Jharsuguda, Katni etc, have gone up substantially and the railways freight grew by 16 per cent in the last one year and continues to show a double digit growth this year too.
Thanks to the focus on infrastructure capacity enhancement since 2014, the railways could meet the demand of coal transportation created by a heavy demand on thermal power as the country’s economy bounced back after Covid-19 pandemic times.
Developing a ‘vision 2024’ document culled out from National Rail Plan (NRP) for achieving intermediary milestones as NRP lays a road map right up to 2050 with specific emphasis on creating capacity well ahead of demand by 2030.
With infrastructural capacity, railways aim to increase its locomotive and wagon fleet. Going beyond 1,600 million tonnes (MT) loading target by 2023-24, with prioritisation and policy changes, the railways has increased the target of 3,000 MT through the Mission 3,000 MT programme in 2030.
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