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‘Railways to spend Rs.1.21 lakh crore for this fiscal’

Manmath Nayak1 |

Indian Railways will spend the entire Rs.1.21 lakh crore earmarked for this fiscal, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha said on Friday.

"This year Rs.1.21 lakh crore has been earmarked and I believe this year 100 per cent of it will be spent.

Last time Railway was not ready because there was sudden large scale investment. Railway officers were not prepared to work on large scale investment," Sinha said at an Assocham event.

He said average investment in Railways during the last five years had been to the tune of about Rs.46,000 crore, which was increased to Rs.1 lakh crore last year, out of which Rs.94,000 crore was spent.

"LIC has for the first time given Rs.1.5 lakh crore for investment. We are working on overnight journey trains so that Delhi-Kolkata and Delhi-Mumbai can be covered overnight. The coaches were not designed earlier to suit overnight journey and it is being done now," he said.

He said the government’s investment in infrastructure has spurred growth in the economy.

"For development of stations, we are talking to World Bank and some Japanese entities have come to us today for discussion," Sinha said.

He said there had been corruption in the processes earlier, which are being rectified now.

"I remember four years ago, tender was issued for NH2 which passes from Varanasi. Before building the road, toll collection was started at multiple places.

"It is my own estimate that the company involved in it would have invested around Rs.50 crore and recovered Rs.1,000 crore. The rule has been changed that 80 per cent of work needs to be completed before charging toll," Sinha said.

He said development activities are moving in the right direction and will take time to show their impact across the country.

"Before general elections, people were expecting that the vehicle will run in top gear but it takes time to reach top gear. It is very difficult to bring big change in short period of time in country of this big size," Sinha said.