New Delhi: Strongly favouring private participation
in creation of rail infrastructure, Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee on
Saturday sought industry's involvement in laying rail tracks across the country
and underlined that the service sector would not be privatised.
"We want to expand the rail line with
the help of industry," she said at a pre-budget interaction attended by over
200 representatives from various industry bodies and associations.
With the Railways facing paucity of funds, Mamata
invited industry to invest in construction of rail lines and said it would get
matching stake in such projects.
"If you invest 30 percent in a project
you will get the matching stake in the project," she said adding mines, ports,
business hubs, tourism spots can be fast connected by rail through this
However, she said the railways core
departments would not be privatised, allaying fears to this effect.
Mamata acknowledged that there were delays
in execution of projects due to technicalities and red tape but said they were
working towards speeding up work.
Besides representatives of industry, trade
union leaders shared the dais with the minister.
There were about 70 proposals from
different chambers of commerce and industry bodies submitted to the minister
during the first of its kind pre-budget interaction.
When asked whether these proposals would be
reflected in the coming Rail Budget on February 24, she said "We will examine
these proposals in detail and take appropriate decision."
Besides representatives from industry, there
were several officials and employees of the Rail Ministry on the occasion.
The purpose of the meet was to involve all
employees and officials in the process of policy making and implementation, she
Admitting "lacunae in policy
implementation", she said there was a gap in our monitoring system and it
had to be rectified.
The pre-budget interactive session lasted
for more than three hours.
First Published: Saturday, February 6, 2010, 22:33