Public-Private Partnership model will not succeed:Mr.E.Sreedharan
Rail budget disappointing: Sreedharan
E. Sreedharan,Principal Adviser, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), is disappointed over the 2016-17 Railway Budget as his inputs and recommendations on delegation of commercial powers to lower levels were not incorporated.
The budget presented by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is “silent” on how to mobilise resources for the Railways to move forward and his expectation of Extra Budgetary Resources is “wishful thinking,” Mr. Sreedharan told The Hindu here on Saturday.
“It is hardly going to materialise as no one will come forward for partnering in rail projects if the rate of the return is below 15 per cent. It is not going to take the Railways anywhere,” the ‘Metroman’ said arguing for raising fares to mobilise resources.
The Public-Private Partnership model mooted for developing railway infrastructure in the country would not succeed as commercial exploitation of land would be difficult in railways, he said.
Mr. Sreedharan said the Railway Minister had also not given enough thought on freight traffic and for enhancing operations of goods trains. No steps had been taken to enhance the capacity on the existing lines. Signalling was one area that had not been touched at all. “Unless capacity is increased, how will earnings go up,” he asked.
The former DMRC chief criticised the Minister for not reducing the working expenditure of the Railways. “The staff cost, work culture, pattern, and decision-making process need changes. If the DMRC can do it, why not the Railways?”
‘Fair deal for Kerala’
Mr. Sreedhran, who is also a State Planning Board member, said Kerala had got a “fair deal’’ in the rail budget. The allocation for completing the doubling was substantial and in right direction. The funds provided for the doubling of lines in the State went unutilised last year, he said.
“I am of the view that the coach factory will not serve any purpose for Kerala. The adjacent BEHL factory in Palakkad is not getting adequate orders,” he noted.
The Metroman also wondered how the State will mobilise 51 per cent of the resources for the Thiruvananthapuram-Chengannur Rs. 3,330.78 crore RRTS, Sabari railway line, Rs. 400-crore rail connectivity to the Kannur airport and Rs.6,000-crore Nanjangud-Nilambur railway line.
“I am of the view that the coach factory will not serve any purpose for Kerala.”