Eastern Railway (ER) today said it expects to handle 61-63 million tonnes of freight in the current fiscal, which would be higher by four to five million tonnes from the previous financial year. “We have loaded 24.456 million tonne freight from April to August in 2016-2017 and if this trend continues, we will be loading 61 to 63 million tonnes of freight in the 2016-2017 fiscal,” ER General Manager Ghanshyam Singh said.
Asking the industries and business houses to use the railways more for transporting their goods at an interactive session organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce, Singh said that Eastern Railway was ready to consider sops and concessions if businesses are willing to do it. He further said despite concessions offered in certain cases railway had not received enough response earlier.
Application fees and registration fees in wagon leasing scheme have been reduced for attracting private businesses, he said, adding that processes have been simplified and made more user-friendly. He said that in 2014-2015, freight loading of ER had been 67.247 million tonnes, which had drastically fallen to 57.783 million tonnes in the next fiscal of 2015-2016. Singh claimed that railways was ideal and cheaper for transporting bulk goods like steel, pellets, stone chips, cement and fly ash.
“We are in talks with Coal India, DVC and PDCL for using the railways more for transportation of fly ash,” he said. At present there are 43 private sidings, two private freight terminals (PFT) and 95 goods sheds under the Eastern Railway and these numbers are going to increase in the near future, Singh said. “Dankuni, New Alipore, Barddhaman, Topsi, Jasidih and Malda can be considered for PFT development,” he said, adding that suggestions from private partners for other places to set up PFTs would also be considered.