Pitching for complete transparency, Railway minister Suresh Prabhu today said the public transporter will make the entire process of awarding contracts online soon. “We are using the information technology in a big way in our operation. Now all tenders have come on e-platform and the entire procedure of awarding contract will be online soon,” Prabhu said here while participating in the Raisina Dialogue.
The sale of scrap is currently online in the Railways while the procurement and submission of tendering documents are also on e-platform. Railways is playing a significant role in providing connectivity and currently our primary focus is to expand rail network connecting all parts of the country. In an indirect attack on previous government, Prabhu said “There was hardly any revamping of railways in the last few years and as a result it suffered in terms of not being able to become financially viable.” Railway Budget has unveiled a slew of measures for expansion of the network and revamping of the organisation to make it market-oriented and robust.
Now we have firmed up a roadmap for the rail expansion and a complete revamping of the organisation to make its an efficient one, he said. He said steps have been concretised for earning revenue from non-rail operation. Expanding the non-tariff opportunities, railways have finalised action plan for allowing advertisement at railway premises in a major way and also utilising the surplus land for commercial purposes.
He said there is a need for tapping resources outside the budgetary sources. We need to tap private investments in railways as extra budgetary resources need to be looked into for expansion of infrastructure, he said. Highlighting the public transporter’s role in connectivity, Prabhu said “Railways contribute to connectivity in a big way.
In South Asia we need huge connectivity be it in waterways, roads, rail or digital connectivity. We are already having connectivity with some of our neighbours.” He also referred to the agreement with Japan on bullet train project saying “We are working with Japan for executing the high speed rail project and we have got soft loan with 0.1 per cent interest from Japan.” Japan has offered an assistance of over Rs 79,000 crore for the project. The loan is for a period of 50 years with a moratorium of 15 years, at an interest rate of 0.1 per cent.
The project is a 508-kilometre railway line between Mumbai-Ahmedabad costing a total of Rs 97,636 crore.