Tuesday, 20 January 2015

HYDERABAD: Railway minister Suresh Prabhu said in response to a question at a seminar on Monday that the burden of the cashstrapped Indian Railways is the burden of the common man, a reply interpreted by many as a hint that he may consider an increase in passenger fares while announcing the rail budget next month.

The minister, who was in Hyderabad to participate in a national seminar on public-private-partnership (PPP) and foreign direct investment (FDI) in Indian Railways, urged on the need for investments from all possible sources for speedy development of infrastructure.

Asked whether his statement that Indian Railways was in a bad financial position meant an imminent increase in fares, Prabhu said without ruling out a revision, "Burden of railways is burden of common man as the railways belongs to common man. We have to make sure how railways are run properly, giving more benefits and more amenities to common man."

The minister said Indian Railways needs investments, both financial and technological, from various sources within and outside, and added that the organisation was looking to draw investments from new sources such as foreign pension funds and other institutions.

Prabhu categorically said that Indian Railways will not be privatised and will continue to be owned by the government. "The driving wheel of Indian Railways will firmly be in the hands of railway ministry only," the minister said. "Financial institutions are looking at fairly reasonable returns but not ownership."

The minister said any decision by the government on PPP and FDI would be aimed at enabling the growth of railways and the economy. He stressed on the need to improve the efficiency and productivity in railw.

Source: The Economic Times


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