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    On India's cargo terminal plans, Railway Minister says raising licensing period will attract more investments

    india | IST

    On India's cargo terminal plans, Railway Minister says raising licensing period will attract more investments

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    Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that the five-year license period for a cargo terminal on railway land was not economical for investors. He added that the focus must be on multi-modal development of cargo terminals.

    Union Minister Anurag Thakur on Wednesday announced that the amendment to the Railway Land Policy has been cleared. He also said that in the next five years, over 300 PM Gati Shakti cargo terminals will be developed. The Union Cabinet lowered the railway land licence fee (LLF) from 6 percent to 1.5 percent and raised the lease period from 5 years to 35 years.
    Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Thursday said that increasing licensing period to up to 35 years will attract more investments towards setting up of cargo terminals. "At least 65 entities have expressed interest in building cargo terminals...Private entities had been asking for a 35 year renewable license for cargo terminals on railway land," he said.
    He noted that the five-year license period for a cargo terminal on railway land was not economical for investors. "Railways are highly economical from the point of view of cargo," he said.
    Speaking about the revised railway land lease fee policy, Ashwini Vaishnaw said that all existing terminals, including Concor and other PSUs, already had a 30-year-lease policy. "We are not changing terms and conditions for any existing cargo terminals, including those operated by PSUs," the minister said.
    Concor, under the aegis of the railway ministry, is engaged in transportation and handling of containers, an official was quoted by PTI as saying earlier this month. The firm is also engaged in the operation of logistics facilities, including dry ports, container freight stations and private freight terminals.
    Vaishnaw also said that the focus must be on multi-modal development of cargo terminals. "(We) want to give a level playing field to all. New entrants and existing ones will have to enter through competitive bidding process," he said.
    About new policy
    Earlier in September, the Union Cabinet had approved a policy for long-term leasing of railway land for the PM Gati Shakti programme, which the government said will help set up 300 cargo terminals and generate 1.25 lakh jobs.
    With an employment generation potential of about 1.25 lakh jobs, the policy will also bring more revenue to the Railways.
    Additionally, the policy will also enable use of railway land at nominal cost for setting up of solar plants on railway land. It will also encourage development of social infrastructure (such as hospitals through PPP and schools through Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangthan) on railway land at a nominal annual fee of Re 1 per sq m per annum, an official statement had said.
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