National Plan for Railway infrastructure development to be rolled out soon

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Plagued with a long spell of underinvestment, Indian Railway is firming up a plan for infrastructure development with an ambitious target of pumping in more than Rs.8 trillion over the next four years. The massive investment plan would involve high-speed rail connectivity, station redevelopment and capacity augmentation across the country.

“We are drawing up concrete plans for investment of about Rs.8.5 trillion in the coming four years for modernization of rail infrastructure”, said a senior railway ministry official. Hoping that a lot of opportunities for economic growth will follow modernization of the public sector behemoth, the official said the National Plan for Railway Infrastructure Development is being formed factoring in funding of projects for the coming years.

As per the plan, while part of the funding will come from the capital expenditure provided for in the railway budget, a major chunk is expected to come from outside the budget through the public-private partnership (PPP) and multilateral funding. Railways capital expenditure has increased from Rs.57,000 crore in 2014-15 to Rs.97,000 crore in 2015-16 and, in the current fiscal, it has been pegged at Rs.1.21 trillion.

Talking about huge opportunities for investment in the sector, the official said while the Life Insurance Corp. of India (LIC) is lending Rs.1.5 trillion for rail expansion, avenues for funds from other countries are also being explored. “We have agreements with 13 countries for cooperation in the rail sector. Railways has already signed a Rs.97,636 crore deal with Japan for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail project,” he said.

Besides the Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor, Indian Railway is planning to link all metros with high-speed trains as part of its Diamond Quadrilateral project which requires huge private funding. On the station redevelopment front, he said there was a lot of scope as the public transporter is opening up 408 major stations for private sector participation.

The redevelopment plan envisages vertical growth of stations with opening of shopping malls, eateries, parking lots, among others. “The proposed stations will be offered through online auction shortly,” he said.

Source: Live Mint

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