The Centre will spend around Rs 50,000 crore to create 500 multi-modal cargo terminals during the next four to five years under the newly launched Gati Shakti scheme, Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Thursday. A multi-modal cargo terminal would be where different modes of transportation — roads, waterways, airways or any other means — will be seamlessly integrated with the railway terminal, he explained.
“Its (multi-modal cargo terminals) focus would be on bulk cargo such as coal, steel, bauxite, aluminium, limestone and cement. Along with it, other facilities will be established for parcel services,” Vaishnaw told a press conference .
For example, whenever New Delhi Railway Station‘s modernisation work begins an integrated facility for parcel services will be established, the minister said.
“This is because parcels come and go in huge quantity in a big city. So, if parcels can reach a central place, it can then be distributed to other forward places at a small cost,” Vaishnaw said.
With this thinking, at least 500 muti-modal cargo terminals will be established under the Gati Shakti programme, he noted.
“The total investment in them would be of approximately Rs 50,000 crore during the next four to five years,” Vaishnaw said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched a Rs 100 lakh crore national master plan called “Gati Shakti” for multi-modal connectivity that aims to develop infrastructure to reduce logistic costs and boost the economy.
In the next three years, the government plans to create around 200 multi-modal cargo terminals, Vaishnaw said.
“Some may cost even less than Rs 100 crore, some may be more. But we are assuming Rs 100 crore per terminal as the budget,” Vaishnaw said.
“The Railways will have the most significant contribution in it (Gati Shakti)…The most important thing is how can we convert Railway cargo terminals to multi-modal cargo terminals,” he said.
The railways is laying optical fibre along with its 68,000 km of the railway lines, he said.
“Gati Shakti will also include the project wherein we will develop how one can one use this fibre for other modes or logistic services,” the minister noted.
He said multi-modal passenger terminals will also be established and for that, it will be analysed how metro service can be integrated with train service, or airports.
The Railways will push both these initiatives — multi-modal cargo terminals and multi-modal passenger terminals — in the coming days under Gatishakti scheme, Vaishnaw added.
The prime minister had said on Wednesday that Gati Shakti targets to cut logistic costs, increase cargo handling capacity and reduce the turnaround time.
Modi had said that taxpayers’ money in the past was ‘insulted’ through a lethargic approach to development work, with departments working in silos and there was no coordination on projects.