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India's rail freight movement much lower than China

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, May 12 (UNI) The government today conceded that as compared to China, India's freight movement by rail network is poor and tariff high, though in terms of volume of passenger taffic, the two railway systems were almost the same.

In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Railways Naranbhai J. Rathwa also concurred with the suggestion that lack of effective freight transport by rail network and delivery logistics were some of the impediments in the econom ic growth of the country.

Mr Rathwa, however, denied that the government was considering a proposal to open up freight movement by rail network to foreign players.

Between 1992-2002, the railways of both India and China carried almost the same volume of passenger traffic (passenger kilometers), but the Chinese Railways carried four-and-a-half times the freight traffic (tonne-kilometers) as compared to the Indian Railways.

The minister said the average freight tariff in India is almost 66 per cent higher than that in China.

Mr Rathwa pointed out that in order to substantially increase the capacity of railway freight transport, the government had planned to construct two Dedicated Freight Corridors on western and eastern routes at an estimated cost of Rs 22,000 crore.

Other measures include laying of new lines, doubling of lines, gauge conversion and electrification.

In order to streamline and rationalise the freight transportation system, he said free time for loading and unloading of wagons, rates of demurrage, wharfage and punitive charges had also been revised.

''After completion of these works, the capacity constraints will be removed substantially and increase throughput on the railway network,'' he added.

Replying to another query, he said it had been decided to set up Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to plan, construct and maintain the dedicated freight corridors. ''The SPV will also be responsible for movement of trains within its jurisdiction,'' he added.


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