New Delhi–The government on Wednesday informed the Rajya Sabha that the Railways has spent Rs 1,646.94 crore for the maintenance of railway stations under budgetary sources for providing passenger amenities till December last year.

In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said, “All stations, including small stations, of Indian Railways are maintained as per the laid down norms. Need-based maintenance is ensured on all stations for proper upkeep.”

He said that maintenance/improvement of railway stations is an ongoing and continuous process and works in this regard are undertaken as per requirement and subject to priority and availability of funds.

He also said that the Railway Ministry is providing passenger amenities as per the scheme specified in the comprehensive instructions on minimum essential amenities for passengers, based on the category of the station. The recent instructions were issued in 2018.

Sharing the details of the funds spent on the maintenance of railway stations across the country, Goyal said, “In 2015-16, railways spent Rs 1081.21 crore, while in 2016-17 it spent Rs 981.25 crore, followed by Rs 1286.81 crore in 2017-18, Rs 1,585.89 crore in in 2018-19, Rs 1,903.11 crore in 2019-20 and 1,646.94 crore in 2020-21.”

To another question, Goyal in a written reply informed the Lok Sabha that the government has issued the draft final report of the National Rail Plan and the same is available on the official web site of the Ministry of Railways.

“National Rail Plan aims at providing a long term perspective planning for augmenting the railway network. Suggestions and inputs from all stakeholders including ministries, departments, sectors, customers etc. are being incorporated in the plan. All possible financial models, including the public private partnership model, are being considered to achieve the objectives of the National Rail Plan,” he said.

To another question on the expansion of railways with private participation, Goyal in a written reply in the Lower House said, “It is estimated that Indian Railways would need capital investment of Rs 50 lakh crore up to the year 2030 for network expansion, capacity augmentation, setting up of freight terminals, station redevelopment, rolling stock induction and other modernisation/ upgradation works etc. to enable better delivery of passenger and freight services and to improve Railways’ modal share in transport.”

He said that in order to bridge the gap in capital funding and bring in modern technology and improve the operational efficiencies, it is planned to use the PPP model in several initiatives, including network expansion and induction of modern rakes to run passenger trains on select routes with an objective to provide improved service delivery to the passengers.

“However, the responsibility of train operations and safety will continue to be with the Indian Railways. As of now, 150 trains in 12 clusters have been planned for induction of modern passenger rakes on PPP basis,” the minister said.

He further said that in case of PPP in train operations, a mechanism has been planned to enable return on investment to private participation through collection of revenue and payment of haulage charges and revenue share to Indian Railways. (IANS)

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