Earlier this week, the Union Cabinet approved the policy that will facilitate the long term leasing of Railways’ land to develop 300 of the proposed Gati Shakti Cargo Terminals, over the period of next 5 years. It is expected that the freight services will provide a value addition of atleast INR 30,000 crores per annum to the Railways’ revenue once the cargo terminals are operational. The cargo terminals will also be generating massive employment opportunities for around 30,000 people directly and 90,000 people indirectly.
“We will start getting incremental freight revenues as the terminals are developed… Once all 300 are completed, Railways will get additional revenues of at least ₹30,000 crore. This estimate is very conservative,” said a Railways’ official on the matter.
The Gati Shakti Multi-Modal Cargo Terminal (GCT) Scheme was launched in December last year and the first GCT was commissioned at Asansol, Jharkhand earlier this year.
Union Minister for Railways, Ashwini Vaishnaw, while talking about the GCT Scheme appraised the Railways Ministry and said that the target of 300 terminals is a very achievable. He also said that the policy will remain the same for existing terminal holders, including PSUs such as CONCOR, Food Corporation of India, Coal India Ltd., and Steel Authority of India.
We already have 150 firm proposals – about 93 applications have been received to build terminals and about 65 entities have expressed their interest.”Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Minister for Railways
The approved policy will help provide land leases for a longer period of up to 35 years as against 5 years at present. It is expected to generate about 1.25 lakh jobs. For the PSUs, a 30 year leasing policy was already operational and the decision to not amend the terms and conditions for them was a conscious one. Vaishnaw said that the new players will come through a transparent bidding process.
It has been lately so that the Indian Railways is giving and getting attention with respect to movement of contemporary cargo across the nation, though it was actively being used for traditional cargo like Coal and Steel. One reason behind it is the Indian Government’s endeavours towards reducing the logistics cost of the nation and also reduce the dependency on road transportation.