Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Centre to increase railway budget by 20-25 per cent for projects, modernisation works

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The Indian Railways is expecting record budgetary allocations and announcement of hundreds of new trains, including new Vande Bharat and Hydrogen-powered passenger trains in the upcoming annual budget for 2023-24. Recently, the railway has also placed a demand at the pre-budget meeting for an increase of 25-30% in budget allocation.

According to sources, the Modi government is working to increase the railway budget by 20-25% to boost the infrastructure of the entire railway system.

He may also announce to run off more than 400 new rakes of semi-high speed Vande Bharat trains and over three dozen Hydrogen-powered passenger trains. Union Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the annual budget announcing budget allocation for the railway for 2023-24 on February 1 in Parliament.

“It is likely that Prime Minister Narendra Modi may announce the Hydrogen-powered trains in his address to the nation on August 15 in 2023, besides highlighting the Indian Railway’s recent achievements,” the source said.

The railway hopes also to get strong budget support to for developing stations’ word class and electrifying remaining rail routes to achieve net-zero emission by 2030. To meet the target of replacement of conventional coaches of all express and mail trains with LHB coaches, the Indian Railways (IR) is in dire need of getting the government’s support in the upcoming budget.

“There is an immediate target of manufacturing at least 5,000 LHB coaches and more than 60,000 wagons in the next few years as part of increasing the rolling stock. We hope that financial support will come to us for manufacturing around 1000 Vista dome coaches and other specially-designed wagons for automobile carriers as part of Rolling Stock Programme 2023-24”, said an official.

To install a new air purifying system, like one that has been installed in the coaches of Vande Bharat trains, in mail and express trains, the railway needs strong budgetary support this year also. If the announcement for running 400 new Vande Bharat is made this time again in the budget, the Indian railways will require at least 65000-70000 coaches with ultra-modern facilities for the Vande Bharat trains.

“The railways spend around Rs 6.6 crore on the manufacturing of one coach of the Vande Bharat train. So, one can roughly estimate the total cost incurred on rolling out the second fleet of 400 new Vande Bharat trains in the next 4-5 years. A whopping fund of more than Rs 70000 crore would be needed “, said a railway source.

The Modi government may also announce the Hyperloop train project as part of a high-speed rail corridor in addition to the ongoing bullet train project.

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