AIRF opposes FDI move in Railways

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi:  While the railways is keen to go ahead with allowing FDI, its largest union — All India Railwaymen Federation (AIRF) — has warned that it would oppose the move in the existing infrastructure “with all might”. Barring high-speed rail corridor, the union has said that it would oppose all other forms of foreign investment in railways.

“We will oppose any move to privatise any function of the railways or FDI in the existing infrastructure with all might. There are people who are hell-bent to destroy the railways, which essentially is for the poor,” Mr Shiv Gopal Mishra, secretary-general of the AIRF, told.

Union railways minister Sadananda Gowda on Thursday maintained that his ministry has begun talks with the CommerceMministry on the shape of FDI in the national carrier. However, Mr Mishra said that it should be the government which should fund the rail works. “With budgetary support of about Rs,30,000 crores a year, the government thinks that the railways will take up Rs.5 lakhs worth of the pending projects. There is a total disconnect in the policies and the railways should first cancel all the pending projects and prioritise what could be done within the available resources,” said Mr Mishra.