Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge has said that a supplementary Railway Budget will be presented during the winter session of Parliament beginning on December 5.
He was talking to presspersons on the sidelines of a function to mark the launch of work on a Rs. 28.35-crore railway over bridge on the Gulbarga-Afzalpur State Highway and a pit line at a cost of Rs. 8 crore at the Gulbarga Railway Station on Saturday.
Mr. Kharge said the focus of the supplementary budget would be on providing additional funds for the projects committed by the Ministry during the year. As of now, there was no proposal to include any new project in the supplementary budget, he said.
Plan size to be cut?
He said that although the Planning Commission had not indicated the quantum of cut in the plan size of the Railways this year — which has been necessitated due to the fall in the growth rate — there were indications that the Railways would have to cut its plan size by 10 per cent. Efforts, however, were on to increase resource mobilisation to minimise the cut in the plan size, the Minister said.
He clarified that the current year’s resource mobilisation was 4 per cent higher than last year’s. The Railways, however, could not feel the impact of the increase in resource mobilisation mainly due to an increase in the salary bill.
Expecting buoyancy in the growth rate, the Railways had fixed higher targets for both passenger and freight earnings this year. One of the reasons for the failure to achieve the target this year was the steep fall in the movement of iron ore and coal. Improved road connectivity and road conditions took a toll on the movement of goods through trains, the Minister said.
The fall in the growth rate had also impacted on the Railways and its resource mobilisation efforts, he added.
To a question, Mr. Kharge said an inquiry had been ordered into the derailment of Mangala Express at Ghoti, near Igatpuri, in Nasik district of Maharashtra in which four passengers were killed. Preliminary investigation had revealed that the accident was due to a fracture in the track.
To another question he said the State government was meeting its financial obligations towards sharing the cost of railway projects taken up in Karnataka. Both the Central and State governments would have to cooperate and step up fund release to ensure early completion of the projects, he said.
South Central Railway authorities had corrected all the defects pointed out by the Railway Safety Commissioner on the Humnabad-Bidar railway line and a requisition had been sent to the commissioner to re-inspect the track, he said.
To a question, Mr. Kharge said the new campus of the Central University of Karnataka at Kadaganchi village in Aland taluk of Gulbarga district would be inaugurated by Union Human Resource Development Minister M.M. Pallam Raju on November 30. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah would also participate in the function.