GUWAHATI: Growth in transportation of various items, including food grain and mineral oil, as well as rise in prices of some commodities in the markets has brought dividends for the Maligaon-headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), with the zone’s year-on-year cumulative revenue earnings from freight traffic witnessing an increase during the first half of the current fiscal.
NFR’s revenue earnings from freight traffic on originating basis went up to Rs 609.35 crore during the April 1 to September 30 period this year, compared to Rs 594.10 crore in the year-ago period, resulting in a growth of 2.57 per cent.
During the period under review, the commodity-wise freight traffic of the NFR on originating basis also went up by 2.78 per cent annually to 4.81 million tonnes (MT) from 4.68 MT in the comparative period of 2016-17.
The increase in freight traffic and the resultant earnings have happened despite the fact that rail traffic from the NFR zone to the rest of the country remained snapped for as long as three weeks in August this year due to massive floods in eastern Bihar.
In the first half of the current financial year (2017-18), the NFR earned Rs 62.49 crore from transportation of 0.30 MT of coal compared to Rs 52.43 crore from transportation of 0.29 MT of coal in the same period of the last fiscal.
Its earnings from other major components like container service and ‘other goods’ also went up on an annual basis.
NFR earned Rs 14.62 crore from transportation of 0.05 MT of container service during the first half of this fiscal as against Rs 13.67 crore from transportation of 0.04 MT of the product in the year-ago period.
Similarly, its earnings from ‘other goods’ went up to Rs 103 crore by transportation of 1.53 MT of such items, compared to Rs 75.96 crore from transportation of 1.25 MT of ‘other goods’ during the first six months of 2016-17.
The zone earned Rs 184.17 crore from transportation of 1.50 MT of mineral oil (petroleum oil and lubricants) during the first half of this fiscal.
In addition, it earned Rs 172.54 crore from transportation of 0.67 MT of food grain, Rs 6.54 crore from 0.11 MT of fertilizers, Rs 17.43 crore from 0.20
MT of cement and Rs 48.46 crore by transporting 0.45 MT of raw materials for steel plants.
Overall, in the first half of the current fiscal, the Indian Railways’ cumulative revenue earnings from freight traffic on originating basis also jumped by over eight per cent on an annual basis to Rs 52,414 crore, while its commodity-wise freight traffic also registered a growth of over five per cent to 559.16 MT.
It is noteworthy that of the 17 zonal railways, as many as 12 registered a growth in the earnings from freight traffic during the first half of the current fiscal.
Railway officials said one of the reasons for the growth registered by NFR this year is the low base.
They added that freight traffic and earnings from it can receive further boost in the NFR zone as work on the double tracking has been taken up and railway services are being extended to remote parts of the north-eastern states.