Railways invites states to share costs of rail projects

A cash strapped Railways, has given a “standing invitation” to all states to share costs of Rail projects which states may consider “essential” but which the Railways considers “unremunerative”. Bansal who was bombarded with questions in the Rajya Sabha over the inordinate delay in completion of Railway projects, first reminded MPs over the “vociferous demands” made by them for new projects and how it was financially difficult for the Railways to cope up with them and deliver results. A frank Railways minister thereafter praised Opposition ruled Karnataka for coming forward and sharing the cost of Rail projects with the Centre. The minister then urged that states “should bear the cost of land and 50 per cent of the total cost of construction.”

Interestingly, Congress has taken charge of the Railways portfolio after a long period of 16 years. A fact that Samajwadi Party MP, Naresh Aggarwal stated while congratulating the new Railway minister saying “after a long time of captivity (the ministry) has finally been unshackled”, in an obvious hint to the ministry having become a hostage to the whims of political parties and coalition partners like the TMC and prior to that the RJD.

Pawan Bansal, who appears to have already started taking stock of pending rail projects and how to expedite them, then added that he had already “written a good many letters to some of the Chief Ministers, requesting them that in such cases, they should bear the cost of land and 50 per cent of the total cost construction.” In a recent step, Haryana had come forward for offering to share the cost of one project. Taking this cue, Bansal went onto to urge Congress ruled Rajasthan to follow Haryana’s example. Responding to the repeated complaints by an MP from the state, Bansal in turn urged him to “persuade the Government of Rajasthan to share the cost that way.”

A prudent Rail minister sensing the political compulsions of state governments for whom certain local projects assume immense significance but which translate into little financial viability or commercial logic for the Railways ministry, seems to have found a mid path between the two.

His proposal urging states to come on board and bear the cost of land and 50 per cent of the costs, would thereby help in meeting both the needs of the state government as well as of the cash strapped ministry.
The Railways at present requires Rs 1,47,187 crore for 347 projects under three categories — new lines, gauge conversion and doubling according to the minister.


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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. As early as possible construct the new rail line between solapur-jalna-jalgaon on cost sharing basis
    also survey the new line from solapur-latur -nagpur ,,solapur-sangola-karad-chiplun ,solapur-panderpur-palthan-satara-chiplun,

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