New Delhi: With the aim of making the freight strategy as market-oriented, railways today rationalised the silding policy to facilitate setting up of 100 more private sidings in the next two years.
Besides railways also expanded the commodity basket by opening up the container traffic for 43 additional commodities to increase revenue earnings.
“Railways is in the process of interacting/recognizing the fields where partnership can be done and additional freight can be obtained,” Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said after launching the liberalised siding policy and notifying 43 commodities for container traffic.
The liberalised siding policy aims to make the process industry friendly.
The aim is to make the siding policy market-friendly and the changes will benefit both railways and the industry, Prabhu said.
Comparing with China, Prabhu said “the freight loading is currently witnessing decline in China as the there is a gloomy situation prevailing worldwide. However despite the downturn there is no negative growth here.”
Currently there are about 1600 sidings in the country and railways expect about 100 more sidings in the next two years.
Sidings are the mainstay of Indian Railways freight traffic. The biggest advantage of siding is that it enables door to door service. Eighty five per cent of originating freight traffic of railways from private sidings and freight terminals.
Prabhu said that road and shipping transport are not competitors of Railways but “complement one another as now there is a need to integrate all these modes in the interest of common people.”
According to changes, standardization of the process of siding construction while various steps involved in setting up of a siding have been identified and listed as detailed guidelines along with time-frame.
The coordinating officer for each activity has been nominated to expedite the process.
As far as notifying 43 commodities is concerned, it is expected that in case of some of the commodities like iron and steel scrap and asbestos which are presently not moving by rail, good volumes can be attracted to containers by opening up the commodity basket.