Fund shortage affects progress of projects: MoS Railways

नई दिल्ली New Delhi:  The Centre has admitted that revenue crunch was one of the major factors for delay in expansion of ambitious railway projects.

At present there are 154 new lines, 42 gauge conversions and 166 doubling of ongoing projects costing around Rs 2,58,277 crore. As of March, the railways has already incurred an expenditure of Rs 76,054 crore on these projects, leaving a throw-forward of Rs 1,82,224 crore.

An outlay of Rs 13,494 crore has been provided to them in the Budget 2014-15. According to Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha, due to large shelf of projects, funds get thinly spread over projects and affect almost all the ongoing works.

The railways has started a number of schemes to encourage procurement of wagons and construction of terminals to involve private companies for making investment in the area of freight marketing through private investments.

The procurement of wagons scheme include Liberalised Wagon Investment Scheme, Wagon Leasing Scheme, Special Freight Train Operators Scheme, Automobile Freight Train Operator Scheme and the Private Freight Terminal.

According to the Railway Ministry statement, to attract more investors, freight marketing policies are amended from time to time to take into account changes taking place in the market as well as on the suggestions received from the investors and the customers.

The government has also made efforts to meet fund requirement of the Indian Railways. Projects mainly new line, gauge conversion and doubling are executed from fund provided by the Ministry of Finance as Gross Budgetary Support (GBS), the statement said.

Railways have always been impressing upon Planning Commission and Ministry of Finance for enhanced GBS, the statement said. Various measures to speed up completion of projects have already been enumerated in the Railway Budget Speech, 2014-15. This inter-alia include mobilisation of additional resources by leveraging Railway Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) resources, private investment in rail infrastructure through domestic and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), funding of projects through Public Private Partnership (PPP), Near Plan Holiday, prioritisation of projects, participation of State Government and others.