Monday, January 05, 2015

White paper on railways soon: Prabhu
Photo: The Hindu
KOLHAPUR, Jan 4, 2015:   Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Saturday announced that his ministry will soon prepare a white paper on the condition of the Indian Railways. The ministry is also working on two types of development plans for the railways in the country, he said. 

"The white paper is being prepared and it will be released soon. I am also working on a short term plan with a deadline of 2020 and a long term plan for 2030. The short term plans would include improving signaling systems, maintenance and double lining of some routes. The long term would be about laying new rail lines and connecting some critical stations," he said while speaking at a function of a city-based urban cooperative bank. 

The railways have faced flak for last some years for slow growth and failure to accommodate growing demands of passengers. It however remains an affordable and efficient way of commuting long distances in the country compared with any other mode of transportation. 

The minister said that they had been receiving demands from several quarters and were chalking out plans to fund their plans for the future. Prabhu clarified that the government would not privatize the railways. The government's plans to private the country's largest employer have been severely criticized. 

The ministry has received demands of new routes, repairing and construction of various facilities worth Rs 8 lakh crore, including proposals for construction of 20,000-km long rail routes to increase the connectivity and efficiency of train services. 

"The funds will be raised through some loans from domestic and international markets. We will not sell any railway-owned land and there are no plans to privatize railways," he said. 

Talking about the frequently raised issue of connecting Kolhapur with Rajapur by a fresh rail route, he said that the ministry will soon take a good decision regarding it. 

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