The Indian Railways plans to invest Rs 50,000 crore in the next five years to develop 500 multi-modal cargo terminals under the PM GATI-SHAKTI programme, Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw said at a press conference on October 14.
"The Indian Railways will set up at least 500 multi-modal cargo terminals under the PM GATI-SHAKTI programme in a time period of 4-5 years," the minister said.
He added that while the multi-modal terminals will focus on transporting bulk cargo products like coal, steel, aluminium, etc, the Indian Railways will set up separate facilities to transport smaller parcels.
The project will provide integrated and seamless connectivity for the movement of people, goods, and services from one mode of transport to another. It will facilitate the last mile connectivity of infrastructure and also reduce travel time for people, Vaishnaw said.
He further said that the new multi-modal terminals will help reduce freight transport costs in India and will be integrated with the National High-Speed Rail network.
In the next three years, the government plans to create 200 multi-modal cargo terminals and each terminal will garner an investment of around Rs 100 crore, Vaishnaw added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 13 launched the Rs 100 lakh crore PM GatiShakti - National Master Plan for multi-modal connectivity in a bid to bring the various strands of India's infrastructure development on a common path.
The plan envisages a centralised portal comprising all existing and planned infrastructure initiatives of as many as 16 central ministries and departments.
As a result, every department will now have visibility of each other’s activities, providing critical data while planning and executing projects in a comprehensive manner.
The minister added that the Indian Railways has made arrangements for transporting coal round the clock to power plants amidst the current coal crisis.
The coal shortage is being treated as an emergency, Vaishnaw said.