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Ambassador addressed Railways Conclave

Date: 18 March 2016, Venue: New Delhi

Ambassador of the Czech Republic Milan Hovorka participated as one of key speakers at the inaugural panel of the Railways Reforms & Governance Conclave organized by GovernanceNow in New Delhi on March 18th, 2016. Hon´ble Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Union Minister of Railways, and Hon´ble Manoj Sinha, Minister of State, Railways, addressed the same panel as Chief Guest and Guest of Honor, respectively.


In his remarks, Ambassador Hovorka shared experience from the railway reform in his country and elaborated on the steps taken up to date to improve efficiency and governance of the railway sector and increase its competitiveness. He started by recalling the history of rail transport in the Czech Republic which dates back to 1828, when the first horse-drawn railway in Europe commenced on its territory. A couple of years later, the first locomotive-hauled railway opened. Since then, a lot has changed but the importance of the railway for the economy has not.

The Velvet Revolution in 1989 and European union´s membership brought about a totally new era in the way the rail transportation has been organized and governed in the Czech Republic. Talking about major challenges the sector addressed within the reform process, Ambassador mentioned tariffs to passengers and freight customers, which were insufficient to cover costs, inability to generate enough resources for investment and modernization, over-employment exceeding demand, insufficient efficiency and lack of competition.

He went on to say, that as a result of a major transformation on the railway, the entire network has been extensively modernized, up-to-date rolling stock has been introduced, entire regulatory framework has been overhauled, independent regulator has been created, rail infrastructure and services have been vertically separated and access for private companies to the network has been allowed.

Ambassador also spoke about a long-term Czech-Republic-India railway partnership between the Czech Republic and India and willingness of both sides to take it to the next level, while benefitting fully from leading edge technologies, high professionalism and price competitive products and solutions offered by Czech-based companies.