New Delhi: The Minister of Railways Shri Mallikarjun Kharge inaugurated the 10th International Railway Equipment Exhibition in New Delhi. “The Indian Railways is today the topmost railway in the world as far as passenger numbers is concerned by transporting passengers equivalent to almost the population of the world every year”, Kharge said during the exhibition.
He said that the Indian Railways as an organisation has always been seen as one of the pillars of the National Economy. Indian Railways plan to add 4000 kms of new lines besides over 7500 kms of doubling and 5500 kms of gauge conversion. Further, the Railways also plan to procure over one lack wagons, 24000 coaches and nearly 4000 locomotives, Shri Kharge said.
The Railway Minister said that in a move to adopt environment friendly and cost effective alternate fuel, the Indian Railways has taken a global lead in starting development of the Common Rail Electronic Direct Fuel Injection system for its fleet of diesel locomotives. For this purpose, an Indian manufacturer has established as joint venture with a reputed foreign firm for design and development of the system under over supervision of Research Design & Standard Organisation (RDSO), a research wing of Indian Railways.
Shri Kharge further said the Indian Railways looks forward to partnership with new ideas from Industry in terms of technology, management systems and investment models that can be adopted or adapted by the Railways towards its unrelenting objective of growth, expansion and economic empowerment for all rail users. He said that FDI is welcome in infrastructure projects such as elevated corridor in Mumbai, high speed trains, Dedicated Freight Corridor. FDI is already open for factories in rolling stock such as locomotives and coaches., he added.
In his keynote address, Shri Arunendra Kumar, Chairman, Railway Board said that new initiatives to encourage private investment in Rail Infrastructure are on the anvil. A major concern of Indian Railways is to create an atmosphere conducive for public-private partnerships. Elevated Rail Corridor in Mumbai, setting up new locomotive and Coach manufacturing factories, redevelopment of stations and freight terminals are areas proposed for private investment during the 12th Plan period. Cooperation of state governments is also being sought to provide momentum to these initiatives.
Shri S. Gopalakrishnan, President, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Shri Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General CII, Shri Rajiv Kaul, Past President and Chairman, CII Trade Fair Council and Shri Naresh Aggarwal, Chairman, CII Rail Transportation & Equipment Division also spoke on the occasion.