On the challenging target of 570 million tonne freight for 2004-05, he said his department was geared up to achieve this. We have already surpassed the freight loading target of 515 million tonne and have touched 518.74 million tonne.
The rail budget was anyway scheduled to be presented in February and the preparation and targets had already been prepared accordingly, he said.
Emphasising that this was only an interim budget, Mr Singh said the base for the next financial years budget would be on the basis of the vote-on-account. We take approval for four months to ensure that the on-going projects and the regular expenditure are continued, he said.
The funds worth Rs 20,000 crore for the remote area rail sampark yojana would be met through additional budgetary support, multilateral funding and non-budgetary initiative, Mr Singh said.
According to a board member, the ambitious target of Rs 1,877 crore rise in gross traffic receipts was achievable as it was based on conservative estimates and the current economic buoyancy. A new legislation, which would come into force on July 1, empowers the General Railway Police in 26 offences. Now, the GRP would be empowered to not only arrest but also prosecute the offenders, Mr Singh said.
On the issue of safety of tracks, he said the six-year project will be completed before schedule. Started during 2001-02 to cover 16,500km, as much as 8,500km have already been covered, he said.