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Railways need a national policy, says official

New Delhi, Fri, 03 Feb 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Feb.3 (ANI): India urgently needs a national railway policy, a senior railway official has said.


Giving a presentation on "Strategies for making railways a sustainable transport in India", Anjali Goyal, Executive Director, Ministry of Railways, said a national railway policy, with legally enacted Bills in land development and procurement rules Public Private Partnership (PPP) and technology acquisition to take transport more efficient, will also help in raising investor confidence.


Participating in an international workshop on "Transportation Practices in India and the European Union" organised by Observer Research Foundation and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Germany, Ms Goyal said Indian Railways needed large investment from private players in the form of PPP model to improve sustainability, better growth and improved passenger facilities.


Ms Goyal said in the medium term vision, the railways wanted to bring in visible improvement in the quality of rail travel with more comfortable coach interiors in all classes, ease excessive congestion, crash travel time and increase inter city passenger traffic.


However, Bernhard Knierim of Germany, warned against privatisation in railways, claiming that no railway in the world has been successful after privatisation. He said privatisation in many European countries had only led to shrinking of rail lines.


The workshop, the second in the series on the subject after the earlier one in Bonn, discussed 'sustainable transport systems', 'urban transportation', 'transport systems and air pollution', 'safe and affordable public transport' and 'pedestrian planning'.


The experts blamed multiple authorities and jurisdictions for being a hurdle in creating a harmonious transport system in Indian metropolitan cities.


Rohit Chaturvedi of Crisil Infrastructure said though India has 14,500 kms of navigable inland waterways in India, no progress has been achieved in developing waterways though the Indian Waterways Authority of India was set up in 1986. He explained the problems they are facing in Mumbai because of multiple jurisdictions.


Dr. Pawan Kumar from Town and Country Planning Organization, Ministry of Urban Development, said pedestrians were perhaps the most neglected category in India and this was evident from the fact that nearly half (946) of the 2066 accident deaths in Delhi were pedestrians in 2011. The second highest victims were bikers, 662 while 104 cyclists were also killed in accidents in the national capital last year.


Dr Kumar emphasised the need to develop non-motorised transport (NMT) to prevent such incidents. NMT includes dedicated lanes for cycles, cycle rickshaws and better facilities for pedestrians. He stressed the need for giving priority to non-motorised components in transport plans and prioritising transport infrastructure investments to NMT. (ANI)


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