The Right Track

Southasia - - EDITOR’S MAIL -

In­dia is fast be­com­ing an eco­nomic gi­ant in Asia and has a global pres­ence. How­ever; the rail­way sys­tem of In­dia tells a dif­fer­ent story. The coun­try’s grow­ing pop­u­la­tion de­mands from the govern­ment to mod­ern­ize its trans­port sys­tem since a ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­la­tion still prefers to com­mute through rail­way. With a rise in train ac­ci­dents, the govern­ment must take nec­es­sary steps in re­vamp­ing rail­way cross­ings as per in­ter­na­tional stan­dards. Nearly 15,000 deaths oc­cur each year be­cause of un­manned rail­way cross­ings and safety sys­tems which re­quire main­te­nance or are out­dated. More­over, the coun­try, which needs fuel for in­dus­trial growth, is wast­ing it on fuel-in­ef­fi­cient lo­co­mo­tives that the govern­ment should re­place at the ear­li­est.

It is true that pub­lic-pri­vate-part­ner­ships can bring mod­ern­iza­tion in the rail­way in­fra­struc­ture. How­ever; hes­i­ta­tion on part of the pri­vate sec­tor to make any de­ci­sion or dis­cuss in­vest­ment projects sig­ni­fies the mis­er­able state of the rail­way sec­tor. The In­dian govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to seek as­sis­tance from China gives a glim­mer of hope. China was fac­ing sim­i­lar prob­lems in its rail­way in­dus­try and it dis­solved the Min­istry of Rail­ways as the first step to­wards re­solv­ing the cri­sis and trans­ferred all op­er­a­tions to the China Rail­way Cor­po­ra­tion. In­dia should learn from China’s ef­forts in the rail­way sec­tor as a case study and must im­ple­ment sim­i­lar prac­tices to save its rail­way sec­tor be­fore it’s too late.

Vinod Rakesh Ban­ga­lore, In­dia

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