Hyderabad, Jan 19:
The Indian Railways has decided to form Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) with all the states to undertake specific railway projects in the states concerned, said Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.
He told reporters here Monday that the SPVs will be formed with equity participation from the railways and the state governments concerned.
“Some state or other always complains justice is not done to them in sanctioning railway projects. We have decided to have SPVs with each state to meet its specific requirements,” he said.
The minister said each state will decide the priorities and send it to the Railways, which will execute projects under the SPV.
“What surplus is generated will remain with the state for expansion of rail network and other works,” he said.
Prabhu, who flagged off two new trains at Secunderabad Railway Station, said during a meeting with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu three days ago, they decided to form an SPV.
He said he would propose the same to Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao during a meeting with him here.
Stating that demands for new trains, new railway lines and other railway projects continue to come from the states, the minister said bringing investments to meet the requirements was a challenge for the railways.
Asked whether his statement that the railways is in bad financial position means an imminent hike in fares, Prabhu remarked: “Burden of railways is burden of the common man as the railways belongs to the common man.”
“We have to make sure how railways are run properly, giving more benefits and more amenities to common man,” he added.
Earlier, addressing a seminar on “PPP and FDI in Indian Railways”, the minister said the railways need to find investment both in the form of finance and technology from whatever sources possible both within the country and outside the country.
He said the government would invite investments from foreign pension funds in the form of loans. He was confident that these loans can be raised at cheaper rates.
Referring to the ever-increasing demands for expansion of rail network and better amenities, he said there was no option but to raise resources from all possible sources including internal sources to put railways back on track and make it an engine of future growth.
“We will try to do as much as possible from railways itself and will give specific targets,” he said.
Allaying apprehensions of a section of railway employees, Prabhu made it clear that railways will not be privatized. “Railways will never going to be privatized. It will continue to be owned by the government of India,” he said.
The minister said the investors also don’t want ownership of railways and only seek better rate of return for their investments. (IANS)