Posted: 04/02/2008 12:13 pm Post subject: การรถไฟอินเดียส่งออกรถดีเซลรางให้อังโกลาจากท่ามัทราส
Chennai Port, Jan 31 (ANI): Minister of State for Railways R. Velu today said that the Indian Railways has achieved another milestone by dispatching Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) coaches to Angola, the first ever export of Indian manufactured DMUs to the world market.
Posted: 04/03/2008 9:25 am Post subject: การแปรรูปรถไฟอินเดีย - สำเร็จกว่าที่คาด ก้าวหน้ากว่าที่คิด
Indian Railway's Lalu embodies country's dynamism
By : Mahendra Ved
New Strait Times 2008/03/03
IT is a testimony to the dynamic times in India that the most successful economic recovery and resurgence of its 155-year-old railway network is being driven by a hard-boiled politician with no training or experience in economics or management.
Although sniggered at for his rustic ways and despised for blunt talking for close to two decades, Lalu Prasad Yadav, despite the white cottons he dons, is the most colourful personality on the country's political scene.
His critics watch sheepishly as he attacks them and the media laps it all up. Opponents have hurt him politically in Bihar, his home state. But they have not been able to touch his rise as one of the most effective -- and successful -- ministers in Manmohan Singh's government.
He is the new "management guru" who lectures faculty and students of institutions like the National Defence College, Washington, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Yet, only last year, New Delhi's elite India International Centre denied him membership.
But Lalu, as he is generally referred to, has chugged on, like the railways he manages. Both Lalu and the railways are unique success stories. Critics, if not converted, have been forced to pull their punches.
Presenting his fifth Railway Budget last week, he showed that the turnaround of this loss-making state sector behemoth was no flash in the pan.
Across-the-board reduction in fares, better hygiene, focus on punctuality, new routes, better coaches and mobile ticketing -- the millions of train travellers across India could not have asked for more as Lalu mixed populism with pragmatism, in time for elections due next year.
Corporate-controlled media editorials, paying Lalu grudging compliments, excitedly went to town the next day saying they would buy cheaper rail tickets instead of cheap tickets of the fast-spreading budget airlines.
He has registered a cash surplus of Rs250 billion (RM20 billion) for the next fiscal, the highest ever, boasting: "This makes us better than most of the Fortune 500 companies in the world."
With a planned outlay of Rs375 billion, he also added another chapter to the dramatic turnaround story of the Indian Railways, while keeping in sight the interests of the traveller and industry.
Lalu proposed fare cuts even as he showed a 21 per cent increase in earnings from passengers. His transportation of petrol and diesel would cost five per cent less, helping curb the inflationary trend, since many of the essential commodities move on rails.
True to his socialist past and pro-poor stance, the minister also announced 10 new garib raths ("chariots for the poor") and 53 new trains. For the first time, train tickets would also have the expected time of arrival (ETA) to ensure punctuality, something missing quite often.
And in a revolutionary step, he announced that the thousands of rail porters in the country would be absorbed as regular employees. It is recognition of the role the "coolie" in coarse red shirt has been playing for decades.
Many have long suspected that, wily politician that he is, Lalu is engaged in jugglery of statistics. He has largely rested their doubts by not only enhancing resources, but also facilities and, most of all, in these inflationary times, reducing fares.
With the economy on the roll and the Indian Railways maintaining its competitive edge, Lalu has been able to sustain the growth momentum.
Of the Rs2,500 billion proposed in expanding the network over the next five years, as much as Rs1,000 billion would be through private-public partnership schemes. Global competitive bidding for world-class stations and other facilities are on the cards.
"For making this magical turnaround durable, we will prepare a railway Vision 2025 document within six months, which will present new ideas and initiatives in a novel manner," Lalu promised.
There is little doubt about the important role the railways have played in India's development. Introduced by the British in 1853, paving the way for its spread to much of Asia thereafter, the Indian Railways are the second-largest in the world under a single management. They run more than 11,000 trains every day, 7,000 of which are for passengers.
A major employer with 1.4 million people on its payroll, the network comprises 108,706km and ferries 14 million passengers daily from 6,853 stations across the length and breadth of the country.
The figures are staggering, even as they go up. The importance of this network has been such, again since the colonial era, that the railways is the only ministry that has a separate annual statement of accounts outside the national budget. This is not the case with even the ever-escalating defence budget.
Already consultants to many a Third World nation, Indian Railways is on the threshold of a global give-and-take. Lalu spelt out several "firsts". The private sector would be permitted to build terminals on land owned by the railways. Consultations would begin with foreign companies to design new wagons.
Although with many reservations and nuts and bolts on the rail yet to be tightened, a new era can be foreseen for the Indian Railways that hosted Jules Verne's character Phileas Fogg in Around the World in 80 Days, and Stewart Granger and Ava Gardner in the Hollywood classic, Bhowani Junction. Or that Mahatma travelled in Richard Attenborough's Gandhi.
Lalu has proposed a North East Rail Development Fund to connect India's northeast to Southeast Asia. The railways would provide 25 per cent of the money for the special fund, the rest coming from the national exchequer. Till that fund materialises, he has sought US$428 million (RM933 million) for various ongoing projects in the region.
It is possible to speculate that these impending changes would prepare India to be part of the trans-Asian railway network, having formally joined it last year.
The 81,000-kilometre railway network, stretching from China to Bulgaria, will no doubt open up immense trade possibilities.
Posted: 08/07/2008 10:10 am Post subject: การฟื้นฟูกิจการรถไฟอินเดีย
Things Looking Up for India's Trains
Asian Sentinel 06 July 2008
An unlikely turnaround specialist gets a decrepit system moving
[Photo: Asian Sentinel]
The notorious India Railways, a legendary mess of cramped and dirty coaches on which millions of commuters depend, many of them forced to perch dangerously atop long-delayed and slow-moving trains, is starting to show signs of a turnaround.
The state-owned network is the worlds single biggest employer with nearly 1.5 million workers. It currently operates nearly 15,000 trains, including over 10,000 passenger trains, across a 70,000 km network, ferrying more than 15 million passengers and more than 1.5 million tonnes of freight daily. It has been the luckless star of countless movies for its tardiness, legions of passengers hanging on for dear life, and shambolic stations.
However, Federal Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, has become an unlikely hero, with the railways financial turnaround creating a new sobriquet, ``Lalunomics.
In 2004, when Lalu began his term, the system was on the verge of bankruptcy. The return to the black has been achieved without raising fares, which in fact have been cut, contributing to the ministers popularity.
In February last year, while delivering his budget, Lalu said: ``The railways are poised to create history by generating a cash surplus before dividend of Rs200 billion (about US$5 billion) against Rs147 billion the previous year. The net surplus in FY 2006-7 was over Rs 100 billion.
``This is the same railway that defaulted on payment of dividend and whose fund balances had dipped to Rs.3.59 billion in 2001, he added. The good news made Lalu a much-sought-after speaker at top business schools around the world and in India. Harvard and the reputed Indian Institutes of Management, vie for words of wisdom from a person who was once a cowherd.
Quite a bit of the success obviously has to do with the sheer rise in volume of passengers and freight, given the fast growing Indian economy. But there is considerably more going on. The railway is working on a US$100 billion vision plan for 2007-2012, a huge boost from plans to spend a meager US$15 billion. US$25 billion is expected to be raised internally and through market borrowings and the rest from public-private partnerships, drawing the attention of some of the biggest global asset managers, investment bankers and consultants including UBS, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, McKinsey & Co and Credit Agricoles CLSA.
In addition to public-private partnerships, the easing of close government control has helped accord the railway its new global profile. A dedicated freight corridor is expected to cost US$16 billion over five years. Another US$8 billion is to be spent on mineral routes and connection to sea ports and US$4 billion on a 12,000-km gauge conversion for outmoded rails.
For optimal use of the new corridor, the railways will need more wagons (US$10 billion), modern signaling and telecommunication (US$6 billion), upgraded tracks and bridges (US$10 billion).
Thankfully, the financials look good, which should make some of the efforts easier to implement, though given Indias corrupt systems, red tape and unending delays in infrastructure projects, it is anybodys guess how the exercise will finally pan out.
To Lalus credit, though, he has tried to buttress the process via modernization, overhauling freight services and innovative measures that have generated new income and enhanced passenger comfort.
In the meantime, the railway is experimenting with some unique marketing strategies. As with Hong Kongs colorful trams, the marketing community is reaching out to customers by sponsoring trains, the travel mainstay of millions.
In this deluge, there is the Kurkure (a salty snack by Pepsi Foods) Chennai Express; recently another busy train, the Prayag Raj Express to the holy city of Allahabad has been picked up for advertising by a major consumer goods company.
The trend began sometime back with the Airtel Rajdhani Express that connects Delhi to Bangalore in the south. The train, with wagons wrapped with large format digital prints of the telecom service provider, has been a success.
Indian Railways has now decided to offer sponsorship options on all long-haul Rajdhanis that connect the national capital to the main cities of India.
These efforts are of course just a blip in the overall scheme of things and it will be take some time for the system to match the quality, service and safety standards of advanced nations. Indian trains are not going arrive or depart on time any time soon and given Indias diversity and size, it will also be a while before desperate commuters clambering on train tops and hanging from doors will be pictures of the past.
At the least, some of the trains look good for sure, courtesy Lalu.
According to IR officials, at least 20 more trains originating from Delhi will be offered to advertisers in the near future.
``Sponsors are targeting trains that attract tourist and high-end traffic as well as the mass consumer in trains such as Prayag Raj that carries passengers on a spiritual trip to Allahabad, a Rail official said.
``The railways has estimated a ready train branding market of US$50 million annually which should grow 25% each year, the official added.
Officials say that on an average the cost of train advertising for a contract that runs over 3-years is over US$1 million, with the money split between advertising fees and maintenance cost.
It is expected that the short-distance high speed Shatabdi Express trains will be another lot that will be auctioned for commercials.
The Shatabdi to Agra (location of the famous Taj Mahal) and to tourist city Jaipur in Rajasthan are reported to be generating a bit advertiser interest, which should translate into higher ad rates.
It is a win-win situation for everyone the Railways get revenue, the advertiser gets billboard space on the wagons and option to re-brand the train name.
The passengers also benefit as the sponsor is required to offer housekeeping facilities and maintain interiors and cleanliness levels that are neglected aspects of government managed train services.
(Siddharth Srivastava is a New Delhi-based journalist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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