Panel recommends rail projects in backward areas

A parliamentary committee has recommended suitable funding mechanism for rail projects for development of backward areas in the country.

“Railways should formulate a viable funding mechanism for development of backward mechanism through routes such as cost sharing by state governments, getting free land from the beneficiary states and also by generating funds internally through scrupulous implementation of financial discipline,” Railway Convention Committee has stated in its report tabled in Parliament today.

The committee has also suggested for cutting wasteful expenditure and probing other avenues such as commercial use of railways surplus land rather than solely being depending upon Gross Budgetary Support.

The committee headed by BJD MP Arjun Charan Sethi has found that there is no laid down policy of state-wise categorisation regarding identification of projects on socio- economic considerations. “There was no classification of ongoing projects on the basis backward, tribal and underdeveloped area,” the report said.

The committee has strongly felt that there had to be an exclusive monitoring mechanism in railways for the projects in backward areas to oversee the progress of the projects.

The committee has emphasised that the basic consideration should be the overall development of backward regions, tribal and hilly areas and other under-development areas.

The committee in its report stated that proper policy and basis of identification of projects on socio-economic consideration should be mandatory as it would help the Railways in completing the surveys of the projects in time and prioritize the implementation of projects.

It has recommended that the Railways should clearly lay down policy for identification of areas to be developed through railways’ participation state-wise, identification of projects on socio-economic consideration, develop concrete basis such as economic development indices and demand from public representatives.

The committee emphasized that details of projects should be maintained separately for backward, tribal and underdevelopment areas to facilitate proper monitoring of utilisation of funds and progress.


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