Ahluwalia meets Bansal ahead of rail budget

Ahluwalia meets Bansal ahead of rail budget New Delhi: Plan panel chief Montek Singh Ahluwalia is believed to have discussed Monday with Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal the issue of setting up of a Rail Tariff Authority to align fares and devise ways to infuse greater private investment in projects.

Ahluwalia met Bansal at Rail Bhawan to outline the broad strategy for the Rail Budget to be presented in Parliament next month.

According to the sources, the Commission has pitched for setting up of a Rail Tariff Authority which would be entrusted with the responsibility of restructuring the passenger fares as well as freight charges.

In view of the Commission, this can help Indian Railways generate greater resources for its capital expenditure in coming years.

Besides discussing the ways to enhance the resources, the Commission has also asked the Railways to reduce its capital expenditure by infusing more and more private investment into its projects.

The top brass also discussed the ways to bring private investment for its projects like freight corridor, high speed trains and other expansions.

The Dedicated Freight Corridors on the Western and the Eastern routes is a strategic capacity augmentation initiative taken by Railways and involves construction of 3,338 kms of dedicated freight lines which are estimated to cost Rs 95,860 crore.

With implementation of these projects, the average speed of freight trains will go up from 25 kmph to 70 kmph.

Besides this Indian Railways has planned to have bullet train corridors having top speed of over 300 km per hour.

PTI