Laloo Meets Manmohan To Finalise Railway Budget

New Delhi, June 29 | Updated: Jul 1 2004, 04:49am hrs
Railway minister Laloo Prasad Yadav met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday to finalise the railway Budget. Mr Yadav had earlier met finance minister P Chidambaram where, sources said, the railway brass demand for Rs 2,000 crore increase in Budgetary support was accepted.

Sources said Mr Yadav discussed development of rail infrastructure with Dr Singh especially in the light of the National Common Minimum Programme. The CMP laid emphasis on increased government expenditure on railway expansion.

The finance ministry is likely to increase Budgetary support to the Railways for the fiscal by Rs 2,000 crore over and above the Rs 7,020 crore sanctioned in the interim Budget.

The increase in government support is required since Mr Yadav is reluctant to increase fare and freight rates. He is likely to draw support on this from the Left parties.

The Railways has expressed its inability in funding expansion projects on its own since most of them are not bankable. The finance ministry has not been meeting its annual contribution to Rs 17,000 crore Special Railway Safety Fund.