Slack growth of infrastructure main challenge for railways, says Prabhu

New Delhi [India], Dec.17 : Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said here today that even though the investment in railways has been stepped up by three times in the last two years as compared to the last decade, the sector is still suffering from a lack of investment.

Prabhu was addressing the 89th Annual General Meeting of FICCI. He said the government at present is not only relying on the traditional budgetary sources for investment, but other external sources.

"While public investment was a key source of investment, the railways has opened various sectors for private participation.

The areas include manufacturing of diesel and electric locomotives, railway station redevelopment, integrated multimodal transport system.

It has initiated railway station redevelopment and different models are implemented in Habibgunj, Bhubaneswar, Gandhinagar and Surat," he said.

Prabhu specified that one of the significant steps by railways is bringing structural changes in management for faster decision making process and will bring accountability in railway operations.

Talking about the Rail Vikas Shivir, he said that 1.3 million employees shared innovative ideas in rail operations and advanced a roadmap for substantial progress of the sector.

Emphasizing the challenges in the sector, the minister said that the railways is suffering from lack of investment, customer service, capacity augmentation, freight and timely service.

The biggest impediment for growth is lack of infrastructure and the government is continuously working in a positive direction, he added.

Indian Railways has immense expenditure pressure being the largest employer and extremely low freight growth.

The government has stressed on multiple revenue streams, monetization of assets for railway revenue and created a separate Non-Fare Revenue Directorate to find ways for generating substantial revenue from sources other than passenger fares and freight, he added.

Earlier, Prabhu said the government is currently working on various equity models, including joint ventures with state governments, PPP and private participation to mobilize resources for investment in railways and also remove impediments like land acquisition, law and order etc.

in the sector. This will enable faster infrastructure development and phenomenal growth of railways..

Source: ANI