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At a presentation to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and other high brass last week, the World Bank senior brass shared their vision for the railways and what they suggest.
The World Bank has underlined the role it can play in helping India fund its ambitious National Rail Plan over the next 30 years, which includes over 8,000 kilometres of high-speed corridors. And another 8,000 kilometers of dedicated freight corridors (DFCs), with a budget of Rs 40 lakh crore.
At a presentation to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and other high brass last week, the World Bank’s senior brass shared their vision for the railways and what they suggest.
The National Rail Plan and the National Infrastructure Pipeline advocate 13 bullet-train corridors across India, including the Mumbai-Ahmedabad line, which is now under development. They can be seen on routes such as Mumbai-Nagpur, Hyderabad-Bengaluru, Varanasi-Patna, Patna-Kolkata, Delhi-Udaipur, Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar, Nagpur-Varanasi, Amritsar-Pathankot-Jammu, Chennai-Mysuru through Bengaluru, Mumbai-Hyderabad, and Varanasi. However, how they will be funded, as well as the new DFCs, is unclear.
Commuter networks will attract higher-income passengers once they are developed, according to the Bank, while freight corridor traffic will increase by 20%. According to the presentation, the combined initiatives would save Indian Railways $6.5 billion in infrastructure ownership expenses, allowing the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation Limited to fund network growth.
The 508-kilometer high-speed railway line from Mumbai to Ahmedabad is now being built with a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), while roughly 3,000 kilometers of two DFCs are being built with World Bank and JICA assistance in the east and west, respectively.
The share of freight carried by railways must increase from 27 percent to 45 percent by 2030 as part of the national goal to reduce carbon emissions.
Officials underlined that private sector and financial institution investment is critical to the plan’s success, and the World Bank’s presentation is being assessed in that light.
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