Joshi pushes for private investment to boost railway revenue

Railways minister C P Joshi seems to be pushing UPA’s reforms agenda, including encouraging private investment to revive the cash-strapped national transporter, in a big way.

The much-touted high-speed trains are back on the agenda amid indications that a pact with Spain will be signed on Friday to explore the possibilities of introducing bullet trains along with improvement of rail safety measures.

Sources said that Railway Board made a presentation before Joshi on the scope of starting public-private-partnership (PPP) in rail projects, particularly in laying of railway tracks.

In its presentation, the Board has outlined that the priority areas can be laying tracks for port connectivity and new tracks for better coal linkage.

The earlier proposal on promoting PPP in rail projects — conceived during Mukul Roy’s tenure — was sent to Joshi after the ministry came back to the Congress’s kitty.

An official said that Joshi wanted to get a clear picture of how the Board planned to push PPP model in this sector.

Sources said this can be the beginning of railways preparing a note to seek Cabinet nod on policy issues to initiate a few pilot projects under PPP mode.