Railway Minister optimistic that the situation will improve

Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday said that the steep fall in the projected resource mobilisation had forced a cut in the plan size of the Railways for 2012-13 by 50 per cent and the Railway Ministry has moved the Finance Ministry to release additional funds.

Talking to presspersons here on Sunday, Mr. Kharge said that for the 12th Plan period, the plan size of the Railways had been fixed at Rs. 5.47 lakh crore, and for 2013-14, the plan size was fixed at Rs. 1.23 lakh crore. But due to the fall in revenue mobilisation, it has become difficult to reach the plan targets this year.

“We have resized our plan size as per availability of resources and have moved the Finance Ministry seeking aid to meet the expenditure requirement of the ongoing projects,” Mr. Kharge said.

The severe shortfall in expected collections from public-private participation projects, fall in revenue from freight movement due to heavy rain and other natural causes, earnings had more than halved, he said.

However, Mr. Kharge was optimistic that the situation would improve. “We hope to increase the plan size to at least 60 per cent with increased revenue mobilisation,” he said.

To a question, Mr. Kharge said that the Finance Ministry was yet to respond to the request of the Railways and “we are persuading the Finance Ministry to concede our demand. We are also requesting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to intervene in the matter and help the Railways to tide over the shortfall in revenue mobilisation”.

To another question, Mr. Kharge said that daily service of Solapur-Yeshwantpur superfast express passing through Gulbarga would begin in the last week of September. Initially, the Railways had proposed to start the daily service on September 15. “The exact date of inauguration of the daily service would be announced shortly,” he said. Now, the train runs on alternate days.

On the introduction of a push-pull train between Bidar and Humnabad cities, Mr. Kharge said that originally the project was slated to be inaugurated on October 2, but it has been postponed due to technical reasons.

The next date for the inauguration of the train would be announced shortly.

Alliance

He declined to comment on the statement of Karnataka Janata Paksha leader and the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa that his party was open to having an alliance with the Congress and other political parties. “I do not know in what context this statement was made; the State unit of the party would react to the statement,” he said.

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