By Nabayan Datta
Posted 10 months ago

PM Gatishakti - Development within Indian Railways and with others mode

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In 2021 the GOI launched a ambitious master plan named GatiShakti scheme for multi-modal connectivity plan, with the aim of coordinated planning and execution of infrastructure projects to bring down logistics costs. Ensuring integrated planning and implementation of infrastructure projects in the next four years, with focus on expediting works on the ground, saving costs. Besides cutting logistics costs, the scheme is also aimed at increasing cargo handling capacity and reducing the turnaround time at ports, railway terminals to boost trade. 

So while I'm talking about railways, few questions may be arise, what kinds of Gati Shakti needs in railway system to boost up cargo handling capacity more faster? Can a single boost up will changes railway cargo handling nature? While GOI launched 'PM GatiShakti' scheme, Indian Railways framed a schemes named GatiShakti Cargo Terminal(GCT) scheme under PM GatiShakti scheme, in order to boosting up terminal development, there rake handling capacity of newly constructed or existing private sidings and private freight terminals. Hope lots of siding owners will be interested to invest on this latest scheme. GCT scheme is the very first initiative taken by Indian Railways to boost up multi modal connectivity under PM GatiShakti. But is this single initiative be sufficient enough for bringing Gati & Shakti in freight operation? Various innovative ideas can be thought-out from railway side under PM GatiShakti.

Development of railways owned terminal

Development of railways owned terminal under PM GatiShakti besides GCT scheme can be done positively. It's very urgent and also essential to invest on development of railways owned goods shed/siding under GatiShakti scheme apart from GatiShakti Multimodal Cargo Terminal (GCT). 

Upgrading half rake terminals to full rake capacity to avoid multiple placement.
Sufficient loading-Unloading lines to decongest terminal pipeline.
Upgrading all 6-10 hrs. working terminal to round the clock working hours for quick procurement.
Installation of mechanized loading-Unloading facility for covered wagon to avoid terminal detention. Few days ago, Krishnapattanam Port of AP&SEZ breaks their own record by handling a 42 BCN rake in just 3 hours 35 minutes. If they can did, why IR can’t? 
Proper and hygienic warehouse facilities and Proper roadways connectivity to connect those goods shed quickly. 

Universalization of container traffic in railway goods shed

There was nothing more convenient than containerization of railway goods traffic. While all CTOs are used to handle their rakes from their own land, the placement policy of domestic container train in railways owned terminal should be universalized for bagged goods subjected to sufficient stacking infrastructure and mechanized system of container handling. Universalization happened only then when procedures will be simplified, rating system will be transparent and single window clearance will attract road traffic to rail. Small goods shed should be cargo aggregating point and major terminals should be cargo segregating point. The vehicle service between small goods shed and big terminals can be introduced to pick up cargo to major terminals. 

Proper yard layout for quick turn round

Proper yard layout for quick placement and removal of rakes. In modern era, most efficient yard structure is bulb structure, which are used to construct at all major ports in india. The construction of a bulb line enables engines to reverse without changing the direction of the train, thus reducing halting time. 

Railway-IWT integration

Connecting Inland Waterway Terminals to Railway. These improvement can bring a better gear up for freight operations. In a current study, an attempt has been made to link major Inland Waterways to Railways. For an example, IWAI has plannned to made up IWT at Durgachak, West Bengal and linked that with Rail. Estimated results suggest that water ways in India have a comparative advantage over the rail in terms of capital costs is much lower in case of IWT as compared to Railways. However, IWT has no comparative advantage in operation. Estimates indicate that operation and maintenance cost of railways with electric traction is minimum than transportation through Inland Waterways. In this topic i'm not actually trying to compare which is best, how to snatch modal share from rail to to IW or IW to rail. The vision of GatiShakti is to provide integrated and seamless connectivity for movement of people, goods and services from one mode of transport to another. If Railways and Inland Waterways can integrated then,

Beside bulky commodities, Cold Chain Transportation can be boost up through close integration of IW River Terminal and Railway. My native state West Bengal produces a lot fishs and Crabes from Sundarban area which are treated as hinterland, is not well-connected networks of railways. No Railway goods siding or Private Freight Terminal has been made up there. This area are falls under the jurisdiction of Eastern Railway, Sealdah south suburban section, congested with passenger traffic causes inadequate scope to operate goods traffic. There was only one NH to and from Sundarban Fish Harbour is NH 117 which is passed through South 24 Parganas and end congested Kolkata urban networks. Such inefficiencies and a lack of transport connectivity adversely affect the state’s economy, increase congestion in road and contribute to post-harvest losses of temperature-sensitive goods. Waterways have the potential to support a multi-modal cold chain transportation network with reduced emissions, environmental impact, fuel usage and costs. West Bengal is the 2nd largest producer of Inland and Marine fish and such temperature sensitive goods are transported across all over India from the state. If there was a Rail connected IWT situated some where in Howrah district over NW 1 i.e. Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hoogly river system then Fishery commodity from Gosaba, the largest Fish Port of Surdarban can easily be transported via delta waterways to NW 1. Rail connectivity can also be established with South Eastern Railway within that IWT.

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