Learn from roads, ports, Railways told

New Delhi, Feb 25 | Updated: Feb 26 2005, 05:30am hrs
The cost of rail transportation could be much lower than that seen in the road sector, the Survey points out calling for substantial reforms in the functioning of the railways. The experiences of telecom, roads and ports could serve as a guide line for a change in institutional mechanisms, it indicated.

Goods traffic increased by 7.7% to 438.36 million tonne (MT) in April-December 2004-05 as compared to the corresponding period the previous year.

Coal continued to be the main growth driver accounting for over 3% of the increase. Total coal traffic for the period under review rose to 198 million tonne as against 183.6 million tonne in the same period the previous year. This accounted for over 45% of all goods traffic this year.

The Survey said there has been a significant effort at tariff rebalancing and rationalisation of fare and freight structures in the previous two Railway Budgets. These included reducing the number of freight tariff levels from 59 to 27, reducing the ratio between the highest and lowest freight rates from 8 to 2.8 and reduction in freight rates for certain high-rated commodities such as petroleum products, iron and steel and cement.

Change Track
Substantial reforms needed to improve efficiency
Goods traffic increased by 7.7% to 438.6 mt in April-Dec 2004-05
Passenger traffic rose 5.9% to 4,125 million in first three quarters
Though the survey claims that there has been no across-the-board increase in freight rates in the last three years, the reclassification has led to coal rates rising by over 5% Passenger traffic increased by 5.9% to 4,125 million in the review period as against 3,896 million during the same period the previous fiscal. This also led to a 7.5% increase in passenger kilometres to 423 billion in the first three quarters of this financial year from 393 billion of April-December 2003-04.

At the end of 2004, the Indian Railways network was spread over 63,221 route kilometres of which around 28% was electrified.