Monday 18 February 2019

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Infrastructure | Railways

Konkan railway plans unique goods service

 

After the unique 'Ro-Ro' concept of carrying loaded trucks on a rail has picked up successfully, the Konkan Railway Corporation is now planning yet another similar concept for goods carrier, called 'rail-road train concept'.

"It is a modified version of the Ro-Ro concept", says B Rajaram, the KRC managing director, which is presently pending before the railway ministry for approval. "If approved, it will give us equally good amount of money", he claims.

The Ro-Ro concept, conceived by the KRC, has received good response on Roha-Margao route though it somehow did not pick up on the Margao-Suratkal route. It helps the goods carrier companies save in terms of time, fuel as well as depreciation of the vehicle.

"We have earned around Rs 30 lakh on it this year", says Rajaram. In spite of such unique concepts and also having an advantage of minimising the distance along the western coast, the KRC is somehow not picking up the goods traffic as expected as against the passenger traffic right from Delhi to Ernakulam.

Though the KRC revenue has increased by 30 per cent this year as against Rs 90 crore last year, the revenue generation from freight is mere Rs 30 crore while the passenger traffic has filled up its coffers by almost Rs 90 crore. "Next year would also be the same", says the MD.

Rather than making profits by carrying goods on its tracks, India's first corporatised railway company appears to be relying more upon its expertise in consultancy and difficult works of tunnelling etc in several states of the country for additional revenue mobilisation.

According to Rajaram, the KRC has been earning annually almost Rs 30 crore by carrying out tunnelling work on highways in Jammu & Kashmir, Bombay-Pune road in Maharashtra, Korapur-Raigad in Orissa and even in Andhra Pradesh.

The KRC has also invented an anti-collision device, which helps in avoiding not only head-on-collision but also in case of derailment, blocked line and even risks at the level crossings. A provision of Rs 50 crore has already been made in the railway budget to install it in zonal railway, though in phases.

As the KRC's debt servicing would begin only by 2004, its recent issue of Rs 150 crore did not receive much response, due to which the KRC had to mobilise almost Rs 30 crore through borrowings. "We had no option in spite of knowing that June-July is a slack period for floating any issue", admits Rajaram.

In the meanwhile, the KRC has submitted a proposal to the Goa government for running a hotel train, on the lines of Palace on the Wheels, only for the tourist state here. It is expected to get materialised before the season begins here in October.






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