Inter-ministerial Panel set up to speed up Modernization of Indian Railways

MontekNew Delhi: Worried over the slow pace of modernization of Railways, the government will form an inter-ministerial panel comprising the ministries of Railways, Finance and Planning to suggest innovative financing-cum-implementation mechanism in two months.

“The inter-ministerial group will suggest innovative ways to finance railway projects,” Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia said after a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh where the targets for six key infrastructure ministries, including Railways, were reviewed.

The panel will suggest ways to clear the large backlog of sanctioned projects of over Rs 2 lakh crore in a prioritized and time-bound manner.

Ahluwalia said railways didn’t have enough internal resources to finance the massive modernization needed. Also, funds provided through the budget were limited, he said.

It was also decided to accelerate the creation of a Rail Tariff Authority and bring it before Cabinet.

It was decided that flagship projects such as the two loco manufacturing plants at Marhowra and Madhepura, elevated rail corridor, dedicated freight corridor and station redevelopment would be closely monitored for award in the next six months.