EIntroduction of railway in Oman is keenly awaited

Published January 15th, 2012 - 09:13 GMT
RAILWAYS,Irrespective of whichever country and part of the world they are operating in, have always played a pivotal role in the national economies. And how precisely railways boost economy often offers fascinating insight to researchers. At a macro level, railways have played the role of threads in garlands integrating small, fragmented and scattered markets, stimulating emergence of a single unit, and encouraging modern market economies to connect almost seamlessly the industrial production centres with the markets thereby facilitating industrial development, and even linking with equal efficacy all the different sources of raw materials. It will not be an exaggeration to say that in many ways the modern world is a creation of the railways, which revolutionised transportation - both human and goods - and transformed the society while bringing the world closer. We cannot deny that the development of railways improved economies, and encouraged new industries to grow and thrive. In Oman, too, its introduction will certainly be a very significant development. Benefits of the railway are far too many to be enumerated pithily. Today, as we in the Sultanate stand poised at the threshold of railways being introduced, we can say that it will herald the beginning of a new era - a period of progress hitherto unknown. One of the obvious benefits of having railways is to have a mode of transport which is fast, economic and comfortable. As a matter of fact, there is no debate on the fact that air transportation notwithstanding, railways offer the best and most comfortable mode of public transport. We are certain that its introduction will change the traditional concept of road transport and it will be the biggest gift to the nation. The tourism industry in the Sultanate will thrive and so shall other industries. And to tell the truth, Omanis are indeed waiting with bated breath for the locomotives to roll out. Khalid Mumtaz Jung Muttrah The wheels of development continue to move at a tremendous pace. And as a reminder to the world that Oman's ambitions are still not satisfied the government of the Sultanate is pushing ahead with its plans to build a railway link across the country. In the larger perspective, this project is part of the 2,000-kilometer rail link that is planned to connect Kuwait, the UAE and Saudi Arabia to Oman and port facilities on the Arabia Sea. When completed this railway network will be the alternate connection to the Arabian Sea and help transport oil. The project, on completion will not only change the manner in which people now travel but also will alter the economic scenario of the Sultanate bringing in its wake a host of dynamism. Presently, the Hormuz Strait route is the only way out for the tankers carrying their oil cargo. The delicate geo-political scenario threatens the economic interests of the GCC countries. Hence, the rail link would be a huge asset for all the countries of the region. Apart from the commercial interests, the public transport system would be a big asset for Oman. The people of the outlying regions and governorates regularly travel to and from Muscat. The industrial zones of Sohar and Buraimi are closely linked to the other parts of Oman. And this link continues to connect with the UAE where many Omanis regularly travel both for business and pleasure. The railway line as envisage by the authorities will also help in transporting commercial goods to the ports and the main towns. The link provided by the railways will surely bring the people closer to each other and boost the industrial climate of the Sultanate. Another aspect of railways is the impetus it would provide to tourism within the country. People of one region will get an opportunity to interact with those of other regions. The expats too will utilise the network for travel across the country and enjoy its beauty. Surely, the railway plan would be boon for us all, and the sooner it arrives, the better it would be for all of us. K. C. Vijaykumar Al Khuwair At the outset, let me express my sincere thanks to Times Xpresso for picking up a very relevant topic for discussion this week. There cannot be a better project at this stage for the development of this great country on a national level. Nice to note that this massive project would be ready in half a decade or so, and that too on GCC level! A simple comparison to any of the country where rail is implemented would highlight the tremendous growth it has brought -in. It can no way be different in Oman, considering the vast stretch of land over here. It goes without saying that the economic growth of a country depends on the movement of men, machines and goods. Thus, railway would be the harbinger of the future economic development of this nation. Oman railway is expected to integrate even the remotest parts of the country to the capital. Nay, one notch beyond: the integration of the entire GCC. Village folks might have already started dreaming of the availability of goods at much cheaper rates and that too on a faster pace. People to people contact would take drastic dimensions when cheaper mode of transport like railway arrives. Carbon foot-print is one of the threatening issues of the modern world. Trains can take multitude of vehicles off the road, especially for long distance travel. Many an employee who is now forced to stay in the capital to cater to their office needs can very well commute from his / her home town, thus reducing the cost of travelling considerably. The burgeoning cost of house rents would no more be a nightmare for such a lot. And then, visualise the great joy the common man would derive when he is able to commute every day by staying with his beloved family! It knows no bounds! Kamran Latiff Qurum The news of proposed railway project brings in a whiff of fresh air and fresh thoughts, but how long will be the wait for the first train to hit the tracks is anybody's guess. Train journey is one that every individual relishes as it is the most comfortable mode of transport on land. Road travel in this country has become a miserable experience. There is not a day devoid of mishaps, some even fatal. Under such circumstances, the proposed rail link, which will connect from North to South, brings a hope for the future. Drawing lessons from other countries, a study shows that high-speed rail can boost our economy, save energy, curb pollution and provide a popular alternative to congested roads and airports. High-speed rail is a long-term investment in the future sustainability of our region. From the jobs it would create to the manufacturing industries it would power, high-speed rail would be another sign of Oman's commitment to smart transit that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and gives travellers a quick, convenient option to get where they're going while avoiding airport and roadways. All around the world, high-speed rail is producing results. Here in Oman, a million new residents projected to clog up our roads, faster trains will provide better transportation options and thousands of new jobs. L. G. V. Nair Muttrah Oman's ambitious railway project will without doubt boost economic growth and sustainable development in Oman. The railway project will also connect the Sultanate with other Gulf countries which is welcome news for the region. This will have many trade benefits. It would allow a large number of people to travel long distances in the six GCC countries, the project would also contribute to generating job opportunities for locals. As Dr Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications pointed out the national railway project will be crucial to economic and social development as it will link the cities and ports in the Sultanate. Most importantly it will generate employment which is the need of this society especially with so many graduates passing out every year. A good public transport system is the need of the hour for this country. The railway project will fulfill that need. Both nationals and residents who can't afford cars can benefit from this project. Sohar and Muscat will be better connected that way travel will not be a problem. Citizens living in Sohar or Muscat can think of business initiatives in both the places. May be it will also help decrease the number of accident cases which is so rampant in this nation. As the article in Times of Oman pointed out the project would boost growth and development on the national and regional levels and would also enhance economic integration, while facilitating trade exchange and promotion of industries. This new model for transportation would help transport large quantities of goods. Gregory Fernandes Darsait Railway in the Sultanate of Oman is keenly awaited and is long overdue. It was very heartening to learn in the news pages of Times of Oman that the government here in Oman has taken up the project with all seriousness. The project, it is needless to mention, will bring in its wake a plethora of advantages. And foremost among them will be the fact that it will provide tremendous boost to the economy. Everywhere in the world we have seen that railway has played the role of a pivotal catalyst in boosting national economy. This apart, as has been said in the motion this week, railway will offer people in Oman a far more comfortable mode of transport. It will also be a cheaper option. At present, we travel from one end of the country to another only by car and sometime by bus, both of which are not comfortable. In trains we will be able to travel in more relaxed fashion and can even sleep in over night journeys.

© Muscat Media Group

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