‘Nothing new, I hope to speed up existing projects’: Kharge

It has been a month since the controversy hit Indian Railways have got a new minister. In a recent interaction with media, Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge emphasized that his priority is to speed up the pending work, ‘We are trying to fulfill our commitment and implementing budgetary provisions. Our priority is to take action on pending work’, said Kharge.

The Railway Ministry has also received additional Rs 400 crore for projects in the North East from the Finance Ministry. Sources added that many projects in Karnataka like doubling of Mysore-Bangalore have also gained momentum after Kharge took charge.

There are also proposals in the ministry about possible tie-up with the MNREGA scheme. The surplus labors from the MNREGA scheme could be used to build new railway lines.

Nanded rail line in Maharashtra is expected to be the pilot project with 50:50 partnership between Ministry of Railways and Maharashtra government.

The ministry is yet to come up with a final plan.

Breathing new life into the rail connectivity projects, PM has recently given a nod to additional Rs 400 crore to complete connectivity rail lines to Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya.

These states would be connected to the rest of the country for the first time through railways.

Three projects were identified in the XI and XII plan period have got the funding. Railway line between Harmati- Naharlagun (20 KM) will provide the rail connectivity to Arunachal Pradesh. Dudhnoi- Mehdipathar (20 KM) project will connect Meghalaya.

Along with that Rangapura- North Lakhimpur gauge conversion project in Assam will also receive share in the additional funding. The ministry has set the deadline of January 2014 for first trial runs and a completion date by March, 2014.

PM has also directed the Finance Ministry to provide up to Rs 200 crore for the Lunching – Slichar gauge conversion and the Bogibeel Bridge.

PM has also directed the Planning Commission to call a meeting of all Chief Ministers from the North East and an empowered committee has been set up to monitor progress of the infrastructure projects.

The current ‘Pending Work’ in Indian Railways is a backlog of over 350 projects that are in need of funding, it is estimated that these projects would require Rs 2 lakh crore for completion. Most of the current projects are marred by slow speed and bureaucratic hurdles.