Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday described the national transporter’s financial situation as “too close for comfort” during the Agenda Aaj Tak programme. “There is no fund for big investment. There is a requirement of Rs 6 lakh crore to Rs 8 lakh crore for completion of announced projects,” he said.
When asked if passenger fares would be raised, he said, “Passenger service should be improved before increasing the fares. Safety cannot be compromised. There is a need for big investment. Some burden has to be shared by people.”
Talking about people’s expectations from Railways, Prabhu said wishlists presented by MPs alone would cost the transporter “about Rs 20,000 crore”.
He made it clear that railways cannot be privatised on the pattern of other sectors like road and aviation. “Outcomes are important. Railways cannot be privatised like road sector or aviation sector,” he said, adding that there were areas where a PPP has been employed.
“We have allowed 110 per cent FDI in rail sector,” the minister said.