Gujarat prepares first Railway Master Plan for city-to-city connectivity linking key industrial pockets on PPP model

Gandhinagar: Gujarat government is preparing a first Railway Master Plan (RMP) for city-to-city connectivity and linkages with key industrial pockets through a new railway service to be designed on public private partnership (PPP) model in the state.

Gujarat Infrastructure Development Board (GIDB) is coordinating development of this master plan for which the state has preliminary clearance from the Union railway ministry. It proposes to float a new special purpose vehicle (SPV) company which will undertake master planning and take up the project on the PPP model.

Secretary to chief minister Ajay Bhadoo said: “The state government has decided to prepare State Railway Master Plan. It aims to reduce burden on road transport by starting a new railway service that will increase connectivity between cities like Ahmedabad-Rajkot, Ahmedabad-Surat-Vadodara etc. It will provide rail service to connect industrial pockets for efficient and faster transport of goods.”

Bhadoo said that the CM met the railway minister twice to discuss the state government’s plan to boost rail service. The Union railway ministry has agreed to form SPV joint venture to raise funds and implement rail projects like gauge conversion, doubling of lines, missing links, connectivity to remote and backward areas, re-development of stations, construction of railway over bridge and expansion of rail network.

The RMP will focus on identifying economically viable projects which can be taken up on the PPP model. Once these projects are readied with the estimation of their investment cost, the government will invite private investors. On the basis of the RMP, the government will work out an incentive policy.

The RMP will also be linked with dedicated freight corridor, new railway expansion plan of Western Railways, Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar Metro and Regional Rail Network and Ahmedabd-Mumbai-Pune bullet train for better and faster connectivity.