Press Release

 Railways constitute not just a means of an energy efficient public transport but also key to a holistic socio-economic development in a country. Notwithstanding the claims of the `Shining India’ campaign, railways is in a state of drift. And, that is what we are explaining in this twelfth of our study in the "Lies, damned lies and statistics" series.
Is India Really Shining?
Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics
 Infrastructure: Railways
v     Continuing with the trend to advertise about programmes which are yet to be implemented by the NDA government as their achievement, a Railways Ministry advertisement on February 22, 2004, makes among other things an announcement of Rs. 20,000 crores distant rail connecting scheme to connect remote areas to be completed within the next 5 years and the initiation of Rs. 15,000 crores Rashtriya Rail Vikas Yojna to strengthen the golden quadrilateral, connect ports, build bridges on Ganga, Brahmaputra and Kosi, and to finish uncompleted works.
v     In reality, however, there has been very negligible addition to the electrified and total length of the railways network during the NDA rule, the latest available figures suggesting only about 200 kms of railway lines added from 1998-99 to 2000-01. Despite the railways being much more energy efficient than road transport, the government has starved the railways of investments.
Indian Railways Route
(in thousand kms)
Source: Economic Survey, 2002-03.
v     For the first time in its history, the Railways could not pay dividends to the Government of India in 2000-01 and 2001-02. Even worse, after the steady decline of the accident rate per million train kilometres from 5.5 in 1961 to 0.57 in 1996-97, the figure has risen during the NDA rule and currently stands at 0.65. The share of the railways in the total transport outlay has also continued its steady decline.
v     The high density corridor connecting the four metros – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, comprises only 16% of the total railway network but carries 65% of the total freight traffic and 55% of the total passenger traffic. This corridor has got completely saturated due to the spree of new trains which have been announced without augmenting the capacity of the tracks. This has been completely neglected by the NDA government.