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US Defence and Civil Service Officers call on Union Minister for Railways

New Delhi
May 1, 2007
(Press Information Bureau)

A 16-member US Financial Services and Industry Study Group led by Dr. David G. Blair, Professor of Economics, National Defence University, Washington called on the Union Minister for Railways, Shri Lalu Prasad here today. The delegation comprised of mid and senior level officers from the US Army, Navy and Air Force and Civil & Foreign Service officers. The discussions centered round the recent turn around in Indian Railways. 

The Minister informed the visiting delegation that Indian Railways is the lifeline of the country and there are more than 14 lakh railway employees. The Railways have broad guage, meter guage and narrow guage lines besides prestigious world heritage sites like Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway etc. The Railways carry 16 million passengers and 2 million tonne goods every day and have a network of 63000 route km out of which 18000 km are electrified. Shri Lalu Prasad informed the delegation that the turn around had been possible because of strong determination and vision for the development of the railways, increase in occupancy of trains, more number of coaches etc. The increase in axle load resulted in increased loading capacity of goods trains. The passenger and freight traffic rates were rationalized and a flexible tariff policy was adopted for peak and non-peak seasons. 

The turn around in the railways has resulted in a surplus of Rs.20000 crore during the year 2006-07. The Minister informed the delegation that the mission of the Indian Railways is to construct Dedicated Freight Corridors, modernization of track and signals, manufacture of low weight wagons, extension of e-ticketing and online enquiry through out the country. He told the delegation that Public Private Partnership will play a vital role in the new container policy, logistics park, warehousing, railway connectivity with ports and developing world class railway stations etc.