Will raise money if finance ministry doesn’t help: Trivedi

February 17th, 2012 - 8:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi said Friday his ministry would raise its own funds if the finance ministry does not provide funds. A high-level panel said Rs.1 lakh crore would be required over the next five years to revamp the railway system.

He was speaking in the wake of the proposals put forward by the panel, headed by former atomic energy commission chief Anil Kakodkar.

“This report is just a suggestion…if the finance ministry does not give us money, I am not going to throw up my hands,” Trivedi told reporters.

“I will generate funds on my own… otherwise what is the point in my being here,” he asked.

Trivedi listed gross budgetary support from the finance ministry, internal resource generation, public private partnership and borrowing as the four sources of raising money.

The railways are facing a financial crisis owing to severe resource crunch.

Though the Kakodkar panel has suggested the railways could raise Rs.5,000 crore by levying a safety cess on passengers with a matching grant from the centre, the minister hinted he is against passing the burden on the rail users.

The finance ministry wants the railways to revise passenger fares, untouched for the past decade, but Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has vetoed the idea terming it as anti-poor.

“The issue has to be discussed with the government,” Trivedi, who is from the Trinamool Congress, said.

The safety panel has said the centre should defer the Rs.5,000 crore dividend which the railways need to pay to the government.

Stating that “railways is my responsibility”, Trivedi said “At least I should be seen to be trying.”

Among the other ways to raise money, the panel has suggested Rs.1,000 crore through a road cess and another Rs.5,000 crore from earnings of railways’ land assets.

The minister said he will study Kakodkar’s report and will prioritise implementing it in a time-bound manner.

The high-level committee, which also included metro man E. Sreedharan, was formed in Sep 2011 after the Kalka Mail derailment near Fatehpur (Uttar Pradesh) July last year in which 71 people were killed and over 260 injured.

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