New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) Railways Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday asserted that there are huge opportunities for private businesses in the sector as the national transporter is willing to lease out traffic routes and parcel trains to them.
Citing the example of the national transporter’s plan to hand over the services of 150 trains to private operators, he asked the private sector to join hands with the railways.
At an event organised by CII, Goyal, in his address through video conferencing, said: “Private sector can support in million ways… and I am going to lease out new routes.”
He asked the private players to identify the route where they want to set up a train service.
“If you want, we are willing to co-invest with you in the new lines. We are willing to lease out traffic routes, we are willing to lease out parcel trains. So, there are a lot of opportunities opening up for the private sector,” he said.
He also suggested the private sector to look at the option of elevated corridors along the national highways to avoid the delay in the process of land procurement.
Highlighting the achievements of the Railways, Goyal said that on Sunday, the national transporter was able to move about 95 per cent of the freight that it did on June 21 last year.
“We are just 5 per cent down what was on June 21, 2019. If we take June as a whole, we are about eight per cent down, from June 1 to 21 in terms of freight loading,” he said.
He also said that by July, Railways would be at par and growth will be witnessed from August-September onwards.
The Minister said that as of Sunday, Indian Railways moved 4,553 ‘Shramik Special’ trains, for migrant labourers, and the number is continuously reducing.
“From May 31 to June 21, it has come down to double digits and yesterday (Sunday), only three trains. So, the demand is over. We have sorted out all those who wanted to go back home,” the minister said.
He added that the railways has started 230 trains on regular routes, “they are not going full as people are still hesitant to travel”.
Meanwhile, Railway Board Member, Traffic, P. K. Mishra at a press conference said: “During April and May freight loading was subdued due to nationwide lockdown.”
“But things have improved in June as more than 90 per cent of last year’s loading has been achieved and the movement of steel, fertilisers, cement, food grains and other goods is more than last year’s corresponding period,” he said.
He pointed out that loading of food grains has increased by 94 per cent and it is likely to continue in the coming days. “While the cement loading is 18 per cent more than last year. Loading of coal will also increase and this is expected to be at same level in quarter three and four,” he added.