Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal did not hike passenger fares today, but said that fuel-adjusted component for freight tariff would be implemented, which would raise freight by average 5 percent.
Reacting to the Railway Budget 2013, AP Verma, Director- Finance, Kalindee Rail said, the railway minister should have given importance to freight corridors. The contracting for Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) projects is underway; some concrete steps to fast-track the implementation of this project would have given a huge boost to railways.
Also, there was no mention about high speed trains, which according to Verma is need of the hour.
Post the Railway Budget shares of companies supplying equipment to the Railways fell quite sharply as no big orders are seen coming into these companies from what was proposed today.
Below is the edited transcript of AP Verma’s interview with CNBC-TV18
Q: Freight charges may go up by about 5 percent, passenger fares not to be raised and somehow the math is not adding on whether they will really be able to make up 30 percent more from the passenger traffic – it is assume to be 30 percent or 28 percent higher?
A: There is no emphasis on freight corridor. People were expecting some announcement on that front because this was the election year, and there should have been more push. We are much behind. They have projected work that is to be done in freight corridor, which has the potential to change our entire economy. Also, there was no mention of high-speed trains.
China has high speed trains, I don’t know when we will reach that level.We are still lagging behind, even as far as normal trains are concerned. They have identified seven corridors, but I don’t think there was any mention in the Budget.
Q: What is your sense for your stock from what was announced? Is there any company wise gain that you see?
A: I think the market has overreacted. The Budget is not as bad as far as we are concerned. The addition of 500 lines is not a very encouraging figure, but in the signaling sector we are one of the leading players in the country and we are also operating in mines connectivity and connectivity segment. These are mainstream business today. The Budget is not as bad as people think rather our order position is nice and we will continue to add to that in times to come.