Aiming at a major push for infrastructure, the railways will raise Rs 35,000 crore with World Market assistance to create a separate fund for investment in rail sector. The proposed Railways of India Development Fund (RIDF) would be independent of rail budget and intended for all big ticket rail-based projects, including station redevelopment, rail expansion, port connectivity and freight terminal upgradation in PPP model.
The World Bank is understood to have given its in- principle approval for the creation of the fund and the railways will seek cabinet approval for setting up RIDF next month. Besides, the railways will also seek cabinet nod for going ahead with the Rs 17,000 crore speed enhancement project in Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah sectors.
The budget 2017-18 has announced the Rs 17,000 crore semi-high speed rail project for Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah routes. We will seek cabinet approvals for both projects — RIDF and semi-high speed in two major trunk routes — shortly as the ground work for these projects are almost completed, said a senior Railway Ministry official.
The semi-high speed project envisages running trains on Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai corridors at 160 kmph to 200 kmph speed to reduce travel time considerably between the two megapolis. The railways plans to increase speed of both passenger and freight trains considerably and redevelop more than 100 stations by 2022.