On a day when Gujarat got a new all-weather private freight terminal (PFT) near Ahmedabad, MoS for Railways Manoj Sinha ahead of the Rail Budget said the Centre is planning to build 500 such PFTs in the three years.
“Of the total revenue of the Indian Railways, 68 per cent comes from freight. Such projects will help increase the revenue and improve the financial condition of the Railways,” said Sinha Wednesday while talking to mediapersons after inaugurating a PFT at Sachana, located about 50 km from Ahmedabad.
“The Indian Railways have, so far, set up 27 PFTs, and in the next three years we will be building 500 such terminals on PPP (public-private-partnership) mode. This will help push social and economic growth in the country,” the minister said.
The PFT at Sachana has been built by Continental Warehousing Corporation (NhavaSeva) Ltd and is expected to serve industries located in a 100-150 km radius, including those in Sanand, Kadi and nearby industrial zones. Officials of CWCNSL refused to divulge the investment made in setting up the project. “This terminal will cut transportation costs for industries located in a 100-150 km radius by 10 per cent,” the minister added. The facility will be able to handle 125-130 trains a month and has warehouses spread over five lakh square feet. The terminal will also house an inland container depot that will have a capacity of 5000 TEUs (twenty-feet equivalent unit).
Rail Budget allocation to Gujarat
He also pointed out that the Narendra Modi-government had allocated over Rs 3,000 crore worth of Railway projects to Gujarat in the last Railway Budget. “Every year, Rs 700-800 crore worth of projects used to be allocated to Gujarat. In the last budget, the current government allocated over Rs 3,000 crore. Such a sum has never been given to Gujarat in the last 10 years,” Sinha said.
Conceding that “running trains on time” was turning out to be a “challenge” for the Indian Railways, Sinha said “de-congesting” the railway network was the biggest priority of the Modi government.
“Currently there are around 492 sectors where the Railways is operating at over 100 per cent capacity. This means that in place of running 100 trains, we are operating 140-150 trains. This has been done to quickly de-congest the railway network,” the minister said.