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Friday, November 30, 2001

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`South Central Railway on the right track'

Our Bureau

HYDERABAD, Nov. 29

THE South Central Railway (SCR), a uniformly profit-making zone of the Indian Railways, has more than fulfilled expectations on it in terms of performance in the first seven months of the current fiscal, according to Mr. N. Krithivasan, General Manager, SCR.

For this year, a target of 61.7 million tonnes for freight movement has been fixed for SCR. This was 4.9 million tonnes more than last year's target representing an increase of 8.6 per cent. For passenger traffic, a 10 per cent increase was envisaged.

Up to October 31 this year, SCR had moved 33.55 million tonnes of freight as against 30.88 million tonnes during the corresponding period of last year. On the passenger traffic side, it has achieved 14 per cent increase as against the target of 10 per cent.

Of the freight handled commodity-wise, coal accounted for 12.3 million tonnes, cement 5.8 mt., iron ore 5.4 mt., general goods 3.5 mt., foodgrains 3 mt. and fertilisers one mt.

Railway revenues are classified as originating earnings and apportioned earnings. In the apportioned category, different railway zones share their earnings according to the quantities of goods handled and the distance covered in their respective jurisdictions. Accordingly, Rs 2,181 crore was earned up to October 31 as against Rs 2,052 crore realised during the corresponding period of last year.

Mr Krithivasan told Business Line that most of the revenue came from movement of core sector items such as coal and petroleum products and iron ore, foodgrains, fertilisers and general goods. SCR handled 0.8 mt. more of coal during April-September. In cement movement, there was a fall of 0.5 million tonnes due to unfavourable factors but in iron ore, the trend has been encouraging. China has been buying India's iron ore and as a result SCR could move 1.1 million tonnes more during the period. Foodgrains accounted for 0.6 mt. more.

For transport of hot-rolled coils from Jindal Vijayanagar Steel Plant, SCR had offered concessions linking them to the quantum of business generated. It was working out a closed circuit movement of raw material and finished products with the steel unit.

SCR had taken one step further to the practice of responding to customers' needs by going to major industries and the Food Corporation of India to book bulk orders for freight movement. As part of its aggressive marketing strategies, it was creating additional capacity to move higher volumes of iron ore.

The 24-day-old AP State Transport Corporation strike that resulted in a loss of Rs. 168 crore to the corporation, benefited SCR which ran special trains during that period. This brought in an additional Rs. 8.7 crores to its kitty.

About the progress of railway projects, he said that more than Rs. 4,000 crore was needed for their completion and for want of availability of resources of such magnitude, they were being taken up in phases. Last year Rs. 180 crore was allotted for SCR projects and this year Rs. 101 crores was allocated additionally.

He was concentrating on projects which were nearing completion and which had potential to boost revenues. The Secunderabad-Mudkhed gauge conversion project which was earlier allotted Rs. 19 crore, had been sanctioned an additional Rs. 30 crore. As part of this, work on the Mudkhed-Nizamabad section would be completed by March 31 next year.

A sum of Rs. 30 crores had been sanctioned additionally for the Tirupati-Katpadi gauge conversion project and part of this work up to Pakala from Tirupati would be completed by the middle of next year.

The Renigunta-Gudur track doubling work for which Rs. 15 crore was additionally provided was expected to be completed by September 2002. The third bridge across the Krishna near Vijayawada would be completed by June next.

The Renigunta-Gooti track doubling work would take about four years for completion and work on the project was going apace in view of its importance. The multi-modal transport system for the twin cities and their suburbs which involved the strengthening of the existing infrastructure and addition of new facilities such as stations would be operational by November next year.

About leasing of unused railway property to private parties, Mr. Krithivasan said the response was rather dull. Though SCR was ready to provide surplus land to private parties for the construction of warehouses at Karimnagar, Palakole, Aurangabad, Renigunta and Koppal, there were not many takers. Only the Container Corporation had taken up the work in a big way at Aurangabad.

Likewise, SCR efforts to operate millennium parcel express trains have not taken off as in the case of Chennai-Howrah operations, he added.

 
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