Sunday, January 11, 2015

Indian railways reels under cash crunch

Sunday, 11 January 2015 - 10:13am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

It plans to generate Rs 2000 crore from advertisement on rail assets.
  • Salman Ansari dna
In order to tide over its financial crunch, Railways is mulling over a plan to generate Rs 2,000 crore as additional revenue from non-tariff sources like advertisements on all rail assets including unused land, train and stations.
A policy will be formulated to promote and generate revenue from advertisements on trains and stations in a big way as recommended by D K Mittal committee, a senior Railway Ministry official said.
The high-level committee, constituted to suggest ways and means to generate additional revenue for the ailing national transporter, had submitted its report to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu last month.
Recommending several steps, the Mittal committee has set a target of Rs 2,000 crore as earning through non-tariff route in 2015-16 and Rs 8,000 crore by 2018-19.
The committee has also recommended for allowing corporate houses to brand trains and stations such as Amul Shatabdi or Amul Station.
Reeling under cash crunch, Railways is in the need of Rs 1,82,000 crore to complete 359 sanctioned projects, while the available funds for the current fiscal is only Rs 17,000 crore. As a result, even critical projects required to increase the line capacity are not getting adequate funding.
The committee has suggested to formulate a policy for advertisements on coaches, wagons, engines, and stations and also for co-branding of trains and terminals.
"Advertisements on other railway assets like unused land, railway quarters, hospitals and schools should also be leveraged, wherever possible," the report recommended.
According to the plan, Railways will use coaches, both inside and outside, for advertisement purpose. Besides, wagons and engines will also be on the offer for advertisement, a first in railways, to mop up additional revenue for the public transporter.
Railways have about 50,000 coaches, 2.5 lakh wagons, nearly 10,000 locomotives and over 7,000 stations which are used by over 840 crore passengers annually.
As far as land is concerned, Railways is one of the biggest land owners in the country.
It has 3.9 lakh hectares of land that is currently under use while over 43,000 hectares of land at various locations has been identified as 'not used for operational use', which can be leveraged for commercial purposes.


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