To expedite the execution of projects, Indian Railways has revised its methodologies for award of projects. The tendering process and award of projects, which used to take two years or more, would be completed in six-nine months. Also, the new policy would allow each railway zone to call tenders immediately after a request for in- principle approval (IPA) is received by the NITI Aayog without waiting for its approval. However, a financial commitment to the awardees can be made only after all requisite approvals are in place.
Projects which are part of the Railway Budget have hitherto been sent to the NITI Aayog (or its earlier avatar the Planning Commission) for IPA. This followed s meetings with the expanded Railway Board for approval. It was only after the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs’ clearance that the railways could undertake the final location survey and prepare the detailed estimates of the projects. Expenditure on the projects were only allowed after the detailed estimate were sanctioned. “The revised policy is going to expedite the commissioning of all projects and help the railways’ effort to de-congest the current railway lines.” a railways official said.
“The Indian railways plans to commission 6.85 km of tracks per day in the current fiscal, up from 5.4 km per day in the last fiscal year.” V K Gupta, Railway Board member (engineering), said. “We will be commissioning 2,500 km by the end of this year out of which 673 km has already been commissioned,” he added.
According to the new policy, the final location survey will be done immediately after inclusion of the work in railway budget, after which the zonal railways will send detail project report (DPR) to the Railway Board with the cost estimate. The Railway Board, after examining the DPR, will send the request for IPA to the NITI Aayog; the zonal railways, in the meantime, will immediately call for tenders after the NITI Aayog receives the request for IPA without waiting for its approval; however, financial commitment will only be allowed after receiving the requisite approvals.
Railway minister Suresh Prabhu has earmarked 77 projects covering 9,000 km involving doubling, gauge conversion and new lines to be undertaken in 24 over-saturated corridors in the Railway Budget 2015-16.
“Of the 77, we have received DPR for 69 projects and of these, 28 have already been sent to NITI Aayog and 15 of them have received IPA.” said Gupta. He added that the national transporter will commence the work on these projects in a few months. Indian Railways plan to invest over R43,000 crore for network expansion, decongestion, terminal facilities and other amenities in 2015-2016.