Railways: A ₹20-lakh crore Boost in the Works

The railways ministry is drawing up a ₹20-lakh crore investment plan under which it will convert 10,000 km of its trunk routes into high-speed corridors and take up several other projects related to modernisation .

The investment plan will be spread out over a period of 10 years, with an average annual capacity upgradation and expansion outlay of ₹2 lakh crore.

Half of the total allocation — about ₹10 lakh crore — will go towards speeding up train travel. Under the plan, railways would upgrade the existing Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Howrah, Bengaluru-Hyderabad among several other routes into high speed corridors, and upgrade the stations along the route into world class terminals.

Railways will also complete the 3300-km long dedicated corridor project for the movement of freight that will free up existing routes to run more premium passenger trains and increase the average speed of the trains.

The national transporter would also induct more than 40,000 German technology-based LHB coaches that are safer and will reduce the number of causalities in case of train derailment or an accident.

The railways has also planned a complete overhaul of the signalling and electrification network at an estimated cost of ₹60,000 crore that will allow it to run trains every 6-7 minutes.

Ever since the National Democratic Alliance government has come to power, investment in railways has gone up substantially. In the past three financial years, the government has spent more than ₹3 lakh crore towards the development of this critical infrastructure sector. The railways is expecting to generate substantial revenue by monetising its own assets such as overhead electric lines, land bank among other things to fund the plan.

The national transporter will also receive funding through institutional investors such as Life Insurance Corporation of India and Indian Railway Finance Corporation bonds.

For the high-speed corridor projects, it could get financing from the Japanese funding agencies, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and several other investors.

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