Indian Railways today announced its plan to encourage corporates, NRIs, NGOs, institutions and even individuals to adopt a station for sprucing up passengers facilities and bring about an overall development.
It has also sought a special railway safety fund of Rs 30,000 crore from the Finance Ministry to eliminate all unmanned level-crossings in the country.
Announcing the policy measures here, Member Railway Board (Engineering) V K Gupta also talked about plans to construct elevated tracks for future projects, which would be more “economically viable” for the Indian railways.
Elaborating on moves to encourage adoption of stations, he said, a cabinet note has already been prepared about the programme and once it get the nod, the plan will be made public for feedback.
“We are also in touch with the Indian embassies in countries like Australia and Canada having a sizable Indian diaspora, who are willing to adopt such stations in their home towns,” he said, adding “this is purely a participatory venture”.
Railways have also identified stations such as Habibganj (Bhopal), Surat, Gandhinagar, Anand Vihar and Bijwasan here for conversion into world-class stations. These stations would be developed under the PPP mode and request for proposal has already been floated in case of Habibganj, he said.
Noting that Railways aim is to eliminate all level crossings in the country as promised in the Budget, Gupta said work has been sanctioned for 7700 such crossings on broad gauge routes.
“Besides, we have sought a special railway safety fund of Rs 30,000 crore from the Finance Ministry to expedite our targets,” he said, adding, 1150 crossings have been eliminated so far.
Railways, he said, has also set a target of laying 2500 km track this year and take the figure to 17,200 km by 2020.
The national transporter has about 429 projects for execution, of which 15 projects were completed last year. The estimated cost of completing all the projects has been pegged at Rs 3.45 lakh crore.
Gupta voiced confidence of expediting the projects on time as the budget this year has allocated Rs 36,300 crore for execution.
He also disclosed plans to have elevated tracks while taking up future projects, holding that they would be economically viable for railways.
“These tracks would be ballast-free, eliminate the possibility of level-crossings or road over and under bridges, and land requirement. Track maintenance would also become much easier,” he said, elaborating the benefits the policy would bring to the railways.
The proposed Chandigarh-Baddi rail link could be executed under the new policy, he said.