Mr. Suresh Prabhu’s Speech Continues…
C. Capacity Augmentation
48.The key objective of our action plan of transforming the Railways is to significantly expand our network capacity. Our high-density networks are congested, over-strained and capacity-constrained. Our customers are dissatisfied. Our key customers like the coal, steel, and cement industries need new lines to transport their wares. Decongesting these networks with a basket of traffic generating projects is a priority.
49.There are inherent advantages in creating more capacity on the existing network. It requires shorter completion time. Since most of the land is already available it is less expensive. And it generates incremental revenues quickly. These revenues can then be used to invest in other lines. Additional benefits include higher average speeds for trains, timetabling of freight trains, improved punctuality of passenger trains and increase in carrying capacity.
50.While last mile connectivity projects continue to be accorded the highest priority, we intend to fast track the sanctioned works on 7,000 kms of double/third/fourth lines and commission 1200 km in 2015-16 at an investment of Rs. 8686 crore. This budgetary allotment under Capital is 84% higher than 2014-15. We also intend commissioning 800 km of gauge conversion. Additionally, we have sanctioned 77 projects covering 9,400 km of doubling/tripling/quadrupling works along with their electrification at a total cost of Rs. 96,182 crore which is over 2700% higher in terms of amount sanctioned in 2013-14, 2014-15 being a Plan holiday. The priority for undertaking projects has been determined by a designated committee for capacity enhancement, revenue generation and decongestion. Negotiations are on with financial institutions for funding of these projects through extrabudgetary resources. Hon’ble Members would be happy to note that these projects cover almost all States.
51.Traffic facility works like construction of longer loops, creating smaller block sections, building by-pass lines, making crossing stations, augmenting terminals and removing permanent speed restrictions is our utmost priority. These are small expenditure works but they provide huge operating benefits in a short time to de-bottleneck and create additional capacity. In the year 2015-16 works with outlay of Rs. 2374 crore will be taken up.
52.Madam Speaker, Indian Railways is committed to provide rail connectivity to all the North-Eastern states. I am happy to announce that Meghalaya has been brought on the Railway map of India and direct connectivity to Delhi has been provided to Arunachal Pradesh. Further, the Barak Valley will be brought on broad gauge by March this year. The work for connecting the remaining states of this region is progressing well.
53.Indian Railways is committed for faster rail network growth in Jammu & Kashmir. The rail connectivity between Jammu region and the Kashmir valley through the Banihal tunnel provides all-weather connectivity with the rest of the country. The commissioning of UdhampurKatra was like a dream come true for millions of pilgrims.
54.The implementation of two dedicated freight corridor projects on Eastern and Western routes is gathering pace. We will target to award 750 km of civil contracts and 1300 km of system contracts in 2015-16. Durgawati-Sasaram, a 55 km section of Eastern DFC is proposed to be completed in the current year. Preliminary Engineering cum Traffic Survey (PETS) for four other DFCs is in progress and will be completed this year. We intend to explore the idea of construction of DFC feeder routes through private participation.
55.In order to achieve fuel economy and also to enhance traffic output, it is necessary to accelerate the pace of Railway electrification. As against a sanction of 462 route kms in 2014-15, a length of 6,608 route kilometers has been sanctioned for 2015-16. This constitutes an increase of 1330% over the previous year.
56.Indian Railways must expand freight handling capacity in tandem with the expansion of freight carrying network capacity. We propose to set up a PSU – Transport Logistics Corporation of India (TRANSLOC), to develop common user facilities with handling and value-added services to provide end-to-end logistics solution at select Railway terminals through Public Private Partnerships. In the initial period, it has been proposed to upgrade 10 existing goods sheds of Indian Railways and develop 30 small multimodal logistic parks where Indian Railways has surplus land.
57.For the benefit of our farmers, a state of the art Perishable Cargo Centre is under completion at the Azadpur Mandi with a scientific banana-ripening Centre. We have taken steps to develop the air cargo sector to facilitate and integrate the movement of air cargo between ICDs and the gateway airports.
58.To facilitate the rapid development of a network of Private Freight Terminals (PFT), a policy was issued in 2010 and revised in 2012 to invite private investment in this space. Certain issues have emerged which are discouraging further investments in PFTs. We intend to address these urgently so that the proliferation of these terminals is not hampered. We will, in the next three months, review the Wagon Leasing Scheme, Special Freight Train Operator Scheme, Private Freight Terminal Scheme and Liberalised Wagon Investment Scheme for making them more liberal, broad-based and attractive to our partners from the private sector. We will also consider new and lighter design of wagons for better fuel efficiency and carrying capacity.
Railways will also work out modalities to facilitate provision of spare Railway land and redundant goods sheds on nominal licence fee to private developers for development of such facilities.
59.In an effort to reduce empty flows of wagons, an Automatic Freight Rebate Scheme for traffic loaded in Traditional Empty Flow Direction has been launched in October 2014 as a pilot project on NF Railway and Southern Railway. We propose to launch the scheme on an all-India basis.
60.Long haul freight operations, where two or more freight trains are combined into a single train formation, will be used extensively. Towards this end, the construction of long loop lines will be expedited. Further, the pace at which distributed power systems are to be provided on locomotives deployed on long haul trains will be speeded up.
61.The speed of 9 railway corridors will be increased from the existing 110 and 130 kmph to 160 and 200 kmph respectively so that inter-metro journeys like DelhiKolkotta and Delhi-Mumbai can be completed overnight. This will involve the upgradation of track including turnouts and rolling stock to higher standards as well as the adoption of improved methods of track recording,
The average speed of freight trains, both in empty and loaded conditions, will be enhanced. A policy of attaining speeds of 100 kmph for empty freight trains and 75 kmph for loaded trains is being put in place. In pursuit of the objective, to maximize loading in every train, the loading density on all major freight bearing routes of Indian Railways will be upgraded to 22.82 tonne axle loads.
62.Madam, we will continue to pursue with vigour our special projects like High Speed Rail between MumbaiAhmadabad. The feasibility study for this is in advanced stage and report is expected by the mid of this year. Quick and appropriate action will be taken once the report is available with us. Regarding the other high speed routes on the diamond quadrilateral, studies are being commissioned.
63.The transformation of Railways offers huge opportunities for Make in India initiative. With increasing capacity, Indian Railways would require more locos, more wagons and more coaches. The ‘Big ticket’ manufacturing ideas include High Horse Power and green technology locomotives, commodity specific wagons like auto carriers, signaling systems and train protection systems and track laying and track maintenance machines. All this will result in creation of job opportunities.
64.Functioning of Indian Railways Production Units and Workshops would be reviewed with a view to providing them a cutting edge in the manufacture of their products. Measures for technological upgradation and enhancing productivity would be undertaken to make them selfsustaining. Spare capacity in these units can be used for external customers. We propose to get a study conducted to examine these issues.
Mr. Suresh Prabhu’s Speech Continues…