IMG set up to clear railway backlog

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 16 2013, 07:39am hrs
To clear a backlog worth Rs 2 lakh crore of railway projects, stuck due to fund crunch for over a decade, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has approved the constitution of an inter-ministerial group comprising Railway Board chairman, finance secretary and Planning Commision secretary.

The group will come up with a creative financing-cum-implementation mechanism for enhancing investment and for clearing backlog of projects of an estimated Rs 2 lakh crore in a prioritised manner.

The railways, at present, has around 350 projects, some pending since the 80s, in the backlog. This year Indian Railways has received Rs 26,000 crore from the Central government as the gross budgetary support. From internal resources, it will get about Rs. 14,000 crore.

It is expected to raise Rs 6,000 crore through PPP. The amount is clearly insufficient for railway to complete its massive number of pending projects. The operating ratio of the railways hovers around an unhealthy 895, leaving it with very little money for completion of projects.

We have been asking for more Central assistance for a long time. Even the budgetary support we get is insufficient as the 12th Plan says that in five years, we'll get Central assistance of around Rs 2 lakh crore. Going by that, we should get Rs 40,000 crore every year, but we got only Rs 26.000 crore this year, a railway official said.