New Delhi, Feb 26 (UNI) Chairman, Railway Board K C Jena today said Railways have set ambitious targets of 1100 million tonnes of revenue earning freight traffic and 8400 million origninating passengers by the end of the Eleventh Plan.
Addressing a press conference after the presentation of the Railway Budget by Union Minister Lalu Prasad, Mr Jena said the size of the Eleventh Plan for Railway is Rs 2,33,000 crore which is almost thrice the size of the Tenth Plan.
''A huge investment to the extent of 1,69 000 crores is going to be from internal generation and extra budgetary resources. The performance so far has enabled Railway to step up their share in financing of Plan investments. In 2002-3, while share of internal generation was 27 per cent, in the current fiscal it increased to 58 percent and in 2008-9, it has been proposed at 56 per cent in Railway's plan,'' he said.
He said the thrust of the budget is to consolidate the position gained so far by quippping the system for higher growth.
Stating that capacity augmentation is a critical requirement, he said that investments on Western and Eastern dedicated freight corridors will commence shortly.
A blueprint has been prepared for the high density network (HDN) of 20,000 km which carries 75 per cent of the total traffic. HDN routes which serve core infrastructure industries like coal, steel, iron ore, cement, containers will be strengthened over the next five years at a cost of Rs 75,000 crores, he said.
Talking about other initiatives he said that progressive extension of route kilometres capable of carrying wagons of higher capacity is being made. Upgradation of select iron ore and bulk cargo routes to run wagons with 25 tonnes axle load is also being undertaken. Also, rolling stoc with higher capacity was being inducted to improve throughout, he added.
Besides, capacity augmentation, Mr Jena said the straegy on the freight front for the next year will broadly dwell on improvement in train operations, rationalisation of maintenance practices and catoring to more traffic during the traditionally lean season of freight traffic.
There will be continued emphasis on improvement in wagon turn round and optimisation of asset utilisation by ensuring improved availability of locommotves, intensive monitoring of freight terminals and mopping up of piecemeal stock into rakes, he elaborated.
To encaurage private investments in procurement of wagons and development of freight terminals, he said several schemes like Wagon Investment Scheme, Wagon Leasing scheme and Terminal Development Scheme are being initiated.
About safety and accidents, he said despite quantum jump in the volume of traffic being carried by the railway, the track record for safety is constantly improving.
''Consequential train accidents have been decreasing from .41 million train km in 2003-4 to .29 in 2004-5 to .23 in 2006-7. Total accidents in 2007-8 upto January 2008, were 168 against 173 in the corresponding period last year.
About the incentives for passengers, Mr Jena said these include introduction of ten new Garib Raths, 53 pairs of new trains and increase in frequency of eleven pairs.
He said the fares of AC I class have been slashed by seven per cent and of AC two tier by 4 per cent.
The five per cent discount in fares pertains to non-suburban second class for both ordinary and mail and express trains, whose fare is more than Rs 50. Where the fare is less than Rs 50, a Re one reduction has been carried out, he said.
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