Rlys may get slightly higher allocation

New Delhi, January 19: | Updated: Jan 20 2002, 05:30am hrs
While the Railways is demanding more than double the budgetary support for its plan expenditure during 02-03, the Planning Commission is willing to give a slightly higher amount than Rs 3,540 crore granted for the current year.

Railway minister Nitish Kumar held preliminary discussions with Planning Commission deputy chairman KC Pant on Friday. Sources said that a final decision is likely to be taken before January 28 since the finance minister is scheduled to go abroad for a week to attend the world economic summit.

During the meeting, the railway minister informed Mr Pant about the steps being taken to increase internal revenue generation of the Railways.

Mr Pant said ministry should have a positive vision on where the Railways should be heading. He felt that it should move away from the traditional lines and visualise where the Railways should be in 2020 and move towardsthat aim.

Sources said he also called for an end to cross subsidisation of passenger fares by freight since subsidy is ultimately borne by communities. He also felt trade distortions, which is at present titled in the favour of railways, should go by way of optimum mix of rail and road modes.

On Mr Kumar raising the issue of high tariff being charged by the state electricity boards for power, Mr Pant suggested that the Railways should go in for captive power generation so that electricity consumption by them is cost-effective. On internal revenue generation, Mr Kumar said that the Railways would be able to load 485 million tonne by the end of the current financial year.

He also informed Mr Pant about work being carried out on the last mile projects for which the Railways received about Rs 890 crore from the Centre as extra budgetary support.