Trivedi hints at PPP model to raise funds for rail

Bhopal: Underlining the need to explore various sources to generate income, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi on Thursday hinted at examining the option of public- private-partnership (PPP) model, saying merely raising passenger fares cannot fulfill the existing shortfall in fund requirements.

"We have to be a visionary to raise railways income and that cannot be achieved merely by raising train fares. By raising passenger fares, the railways may earn Rs 2000-3000 crore, but its requirement is Rs three lakh crore," he told reporters during an inspection of Habibganj Railway Station.

"Our requirement is of an ocean, while by raising fares we will only get a drop," he said.

Citing the example of Japan, Trivedi said, "Railways in that country generate 40 per cent income from the other sources on the basis of PPP models and here also we have to think on those lines. Suburban stations like Boriwali and CST in Mumbai, besides Chennai, New Delhi and Howrah, among others, could prove to be a gold mines for the railways".

Replying to a query whether hike in passenger fares is on the cards of the ministry in the next budget, Trivedi said, "There is no need for us to wait for the railway budget to raise the fares. It can be done without waiting for the annual exercise also".

Trivedi later held a meeting with Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and MPs from the state to discuss various demands.

Chouhan said the state would provide government land to the railways free of cost for developing rail network in MP.

He raised with Trivedi a number of other issues, including gauge conversion and difficulties in laying Lalitpur-Singrauli rail line in view of a tiger reserve falling in the area.

He said that the issue of running EMU services from those places where large number of people commute daily for the purpose of jobs was raised during the meeting.

On the issue of shortage of rakes for transporting fertiliser to the state, Trivedi said that already 10 rakes were provided for the purpose and, if needed, more would be made available.