labels: economy - general, infrastructure - general, railways
Railways to invest Rs300,000 crore by 2012 news
07 October 2006

Mumbai: The Railways plans to invest Rs300,000 crore ($65.8 billion) for developing freight corridors, container trains and upgrading stations by 2012. The Railways will seek increased private participation and allow private companies to run freight trains and improve facilities at railway stations, J P Batra, chairman of the Railway Board, told an infrastructure conference in New Delhi.

The Railways had launched a massive Rs22,000 crore project last month for constructing freight-only lines aimed at improving infrastructure. Construction of dedicated freight corridors will allow quicker movement of export consignments and allow companies like Indian Oil Corporation to move gasoline and diesel faster to consumers across the country.

The project, the Railways' biggest since Independence, will add over 10,000km of tracks connecting the country's financial hub of Mumbai on the West coast and Kolkata in the East coast to the capital New Delhi.

The Railways has also revised estimates of freight traffic to 750 million tonnes this year against the earlier estimate of 726 million tonnes, Batra said. Passenger traffic is expected to rise to 6.5 billion people this financial year ending March 31, 2007, compared with six billion people in the previous year, he added.

The Railways, meanwhile, expects a surplus of Rs20,000 crore ($4.4 billion) this fiscal against a surplus of Rs13,600 crore last year, he said.

The Railways has already issued licences to 14 companies to run private trains, ending the monopoly of the government in the business.

The government is trying to remove infrastructure bottlenecks so that the pace of economic growth can be accelerated to as much as 10 per cent in the next decade from an average six per cent since 1980.

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Railways to invest Rs300,000 crore by 2012