Prabhu: Railways will seek pvt funds, but it does not signal privatisation

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on December 03, 2014 Published on December 03, 2014

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu (file photo)   -  The Hindu

The Railways will seek private capital for investment but this does not mean that the organisation will be privatised, Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said at a conference in Mumbai this morning.

Speaking over a video link, Prabhu said, “The Railways need to become a vibrant, sustainable and efficient business organisation” and private capital is necessary to achieve this. However, it will take into consideration the needs of all stakeholders, particularly its employees.

“The Railways’ finances have been neglected; we are committed to promises that we cannot fulfil. We are overcharging freight traffic while not charging enough from passenger traffic. There is very little internal (revenue) accruals. So to improve the Railways, private investment is necessary.”

Prabhu was unwilling to give details on the scope and modes of private financing but said he would make a policy statement in Parliament and a complete blueprint on turning the Railways around in the coming months.

His priorities are passenger amenities, including improving the quality of food served on trains by setting up base kitchens and better maintenance of toilets, and efficient ticket booking facilities. He said plans are also on to build new coach factories and to connect strategic areas such as Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East by rail to the rest of the country. “But the bottomline is as important as customer satisfaction,” Prabhu said.

Published on December 03, 2014
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