Advisory body for rail freight corridor set up

New Delhi, Nov 14 | Updated: Nov 15 2005, 05:30am hrs
The railway ministry has set up an advisory council for dedicated rail freight corridor. The council has 20-odd members consisting of major railway freight customers like Tata Steel, SAIL, Coal India Ltd (CIL), Food Corporation of India (FCI) and Kribhco.

With rail minister Lalu Prasad as its chairman, the council would act as a platform for freight customers to air their grievances.

It would also advise the railways in framing industry-friendly freight policies which work to the advantage of both the service provider and consumers.

Railway ministry officials said that efforts were on to organise the first meeting of the council before the Union Budget.

The council, sources said, would advise the ministry on issues related to rolling stock, apart from monitoring freight traffic.

Monitoring Freight Traffic
The council will act as a platform for freight customers to air their grievances
Efforts are on to organise the first meeting of the council before the Union Budget
CIL hopes that its demand for a separate coal freight corridor will be considered seriously
Incidentally, sources say that it is the first body of its kind to have been formed for freight customers.

SAIL, which is also part of the council, hopes that its presence would help the steel industry in general.

There are various issues relating to demurrage charges and rationalisation of freight movement, that often results in goods load being loaded and unloaded twice on a single route. We hope to take up this issue at the council meeting, an industry insider told FE.

CIL, on the other hand, hopes that its demand for a separate coal freight corridor would be considered seriously once discussions take place in the council.

A passenger amenities committee already exists within the railway ministry. However, there has not been any mechanism to address freight customers issues.

With the ministry gearing up to start work on the Rs 60,000 crore dedicated rail freight corridor from next year, the council could prove effective in streamlining specific freight related corridors, which are proposed under the entire project, sources said.