Rlys eyeing pvt players & foreign funding: Sadananda Gowda

Rlys eyeing pvt players & foreign funding Sadananda GowdaKOCHI: Railways is eyeing private players and foreign funding to mobilize more funds for its various projects, including bullet trains and speed trains, Railway Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, said here today.

“We want to generate more funds. So I want to take private players inside railways and foreign funding as we are going for new projects like Bullet trains and speed trains. So I thought of going for revenue mobilization and it cannot be from railways only’, he told reporters here.

Railways is also keen to modernize railway stations with the help of private players. They are also prepared to lease out its properties for 30-35 years, but a share should be given to the Railways, he said.

Pointing out that 95 per cent of total revenue generated was being spent for operational costs and maintenance, Gowda said he had refrained from announcing any new projects in his maiden budget this year as there were no sufficient funds.

Projects announced earlier should be delivered, he said.

In the last three years, five ministers had announced Rs 5 lakh 60,000 crore projects while the ministry had only about Rs 60,000 crore in hand. Due to this, it had decided to prioritize 30 projects, which would be taken care of this year.

Four committees have been constituted, which will go into various issues, including resource mobilization, IT initiatives and ways to reduce operational costs and submit its report within three months. Railways would go ahead with the recommendations after they are submitted, he said.

Importance would be given to cleanliness, catering, safety and security, the minister said. Already some branded items have been introduced on a trial basis in some trains. For cleanliness, 40 per cent more allocation has been made, he said.

With regard to Kerala’s plea for a separate zone, he said “it may not be possible at this juncture. There is a big demand from Kerala. But it doesn’t mean that Kerala will be deprived. When the appropriate time comes, it will be looked into”, he said.

Gowda today reviewed the railway issues of the state, in the two divisions- Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram – to understand the constraints and problems and demands from railways and public.

The minister said he had earlier held detailed and in depth discussions with 20 MPs of the state with regard to the railway issues of the state.–PTI

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