Indian Railways is set to meet its operating expenditure despite having suffered a significant loss through passenger revenue this year, railways board chairman and CEO VK Yadav said on Saturday.
The national transporter has incurred 87 per cent loss in passenger revenue, down from Rs 53,000 crore last year to just Rs 4,600 crore, owing to suspension of regular passenger trains due to Covid-19 pandemic.
“This year has been a “Year of Grit and Victories” for Indian Railways. Faced with daunting and unprecedented Covid related challenges, under the guidance and vision of PM, Indian Railways has not only been able to keep the national supply chain running and move millions of people back home in most adverse circumstances but has also been able to usher in an unprecedented growth in the development of infrastructure, innovation, capacity expansion of network, freight diversification and transparency matters. Railways has used the Covid challenge as an opportunity to lay the foundation for future development and the next level of travelling experience for passengers,” the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
Yadav said that it expects an increase in freight loading revenue, compensated by the enhanced transportation of non-traditional commodities like food grain and fertilisers.
“Due to several expenditure controlling measures and the earnings from freight revenue, we will be able to compensate for the revenue loss from the passenger segment,” Yadav said at a press conference.
“Railways has so far spent 12 per cent less than the last year. We have controlled our expenditure and are saving on fuel and inventory. Despite Covid, we will meet our operating expenditure from our revenue… We have almost surpassed both freight loading and freight revenue of last year. So, this year’s revenue would be more than last year’s from freight,” he said.
The chairman said railways’ biggest achievements this year was that it managed to maintain the supply line of essential commodities, ferried more than 60 lakh migrant workers through Shramik Special trains
He added that the ministry has also managed to clear the backlog of all maintenance and safety works.
Speaking on the bullet train project, Yadav said that the Maharashtra government has assured the ministry of providing necessary land clearances for the remaining portion lying in the state in the next four months. So far, 68 per cent land has been acquired for the project.
“Once that is done, we can start work on the entire line and then bullet train from both the states can be commissioned together. We will get the full picture over the next four months and then decide if the commissioning will be done in phases or at once. However, if the Maharashtra land acquisition is delayed, then a 325 kilometre-long stretch till Vapi will be commissioned. The decision will be taken in four months,” he said.