Indian Railways News

Create a separate Commuter Railway Company to manage Mumbai’s Suburban Railway System: World Bank

The World Bank, which has financed a slew of railway projects in the city, wants the megapolis’ lifeline to be managed by a dedicated commuter railway company, a top official has said.

“What Mumbai needs is a very efficient, sustainable and India’s first commuter railway company,” said World Bank country director Junaid Ahmad, stressing on the need to create strong public institutions, rather than the ‘project-by-project’ approach currently adopted.

At present, the suburban train network handles over 6 million passengers a day. The services are operated by the state-run railways and are administered by Central Railway and Western Railway. The suburban traffic also contributes a large sum to the overall passenger earnings of the railways.

Ahmad said having dedicated commuter railway firm could have a lot of advantages, and suggested that it could be run by the state government. He added that the company will be an “agile institution” which will respond to market signals, raise money in the market and gives shares to its workers.

He said the company will be an “agile institution” which will respond to market signals, raise money in the market and gives shares to its workers. Ahmad warned that if such a company is not created, it will be difficult to respond to the massive technological changes happening right now and such changes “will pass” the institution.

The World Bank has been associated with the Mumbai railway since 2002 and is widely credited for funding of the airy and less energy consuming rail rakes through two projects.

Ahmad said it is necessary for other public and transport utilities as well to adopt the same approach, of moving to stronger institutions rather than have only projects. “The next challenge is to move from creating good investment opportunities, to actually create bankable institutions in which you can bring in not only private finance, pension funds and institutional resources, but you create an impeccable institution which will be agile. “As the world of technology changes, that institution has an incentive to adopt that technology,” he said.

Ahmad warned that if such a company is not created, it would be difficult to respond to the massive technological changes. “As the world of technology changes, that institution has an incentive to adopt that technology,” he said.

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