Saturday, July 13, 2013

 Russian Railways keen to extend support for electrification

Russian Railways expressed interest in the electrification of India large railway network, which is undergoing a major modernisation programme.

Sergei Pavlov, Chief Executibe of Russian Railways subsidiary RZD International, said the company is looking at the Indian market in terms of electrification and track reconstruction. More than 2000 kilometres of railway lines are getting electrified every year, according to Pavlov. “These are very serious volumes, and we will be working with them,” he was quoted by RBC Daily as saying.

RZD International was established in 2012 to represent the interests of Russian Railways. Pavlov said the company’s mission is to carry out the holding’s foreign economic operations, manage existing projects and generate revenue for the holding by carrying out new projects. The organisation also looks at building brand awareness for Russian Railways abroad and promoting it in other markets.

More than 20 countries are being considered by RZD International management for future projects. India is close to the top of this list.

Russian Railways is not the only Russian company vying for cooperation with Indian railways. Recent media reports indicate that the Uralvagonzavod Research and Production Corporation would like to work with the Indian Ministry of Railways. Oleg Siyenko, chief executive of Uralvagonzavod, said the company was prepared to cooperate with India on the joint development and manufacturing of railway carriages, setting up production of machinery units and parts and establishing assembly lines using the latest technology.

India’s railways are facing difficult times right at the moment. Mallikarjun Kharge is the seventh Minister of Railways in the last four years. His predecessor Pawan Kumar Bansal was forced to resign following a corruption scandal where his nephew was arrested for accepting a $160,000 bribe in exchange for promises to assist in an appointment to the Board of the Ministry of Railways.

India’s railways suffered a $4.11 billion loss in the fiscal year that ended in March 2013. Accordingly, capital expenditure for the current fiscal year has been slashed from $10.05 billion to $8.74 billion. The bulk of the money has been earmarked for infrastructure projects.


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