Budget high on customer comfort, safety: ICC
Kolkata, Feb 26 : Appreciating the Rail Budget, the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) on Tuesday said it feels that the upward revision of freight charges by 5 to 6 percent, to be effective from April 1 for balancing the hike in fuel costs will augment the operating costs of the core sector companies in the Coal, Power and Infra domain.
"The Railway Budget 2013-14 has rolled out a Fuel adjustment component linked revision in freight tariff to be applicable from 1stApril, 2013. Freight traffic target for the Indian Railways stands at 1047 MT for 2013-14," said ICC in a statement.
"ICC welcomes the move of setting up an Independent Rail Tariff Authority and lauds the government for the proposed completion of the Dumdum- Noapara Metro Railway project in Kolkata by March 2013, and the construction of the East -west Corridor in Kolkata. An extension of rake length to 12 cars from 9 cars for 80 services in Kolkata has also been effected," it said.
ICC lauded the fact that land acquisition is over for 2800 km of the Eastern and Western Freight Corridor projects which will be vital for unlocking the economic potential of the North Eastern states.
"ICC feels the linking up of Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur with the railway network will be a key enabler in facilitating regional economic integration in the North East states, which share a long international border," the chamber said.
The targeted investment of 1 lakh crore in PPP mode for railways in the twelfth plan would open-up a level playing field for the private players.
"ICC also welcomes the railway initiative at lowering its carbon footprint, and hopes that it would open up for private sector participation in building solar and wind power stations for feeding its energy requirements.
"The Indian Railways can also team up with industry leaders in their financial management institutes and multi-disciplinary training institutes towards forging a higher level of skill development, feels ICC," it said.
ICC lauded the fact that the Indian Railways have scaled down its Operating ratio to around 88% (which is further slated to go down to 87.8 % in 2013-14) towards scripting greater financial viability, and welcomed the decade long Corporate safety plan designed for the 2014-24 period.
The New Debt Service Fund is also a good initiative at promoting fiscal discipline in the organization, it said.
"ICC feels multi-modal travel packages could have been introduced in the Eastern and North Eastern states of India, especially in the Buddhist tourist routes which pull in considerable international tourists.
"ICC welcomes the enhanced focus on safety and security of the women passengers, and special facilitation for the elderly and the specially enabled, and lauds the e-facilitation measures rolled in by the Ministry in ticketing," it said.