The Union Ministry of Railways is planning to float special purpose vehicles (SPVs) along with the state governments to implement new and modernisation projects across the country. Speaking to reporters after flagging off new trains from Chennai to Visakhapatnam, Union Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said, almost all the states had agreed to set up special purpose vehicles and JVs. Read our full coverage on Union Budget “It will be a win-win and will generate revenues for the states too,” he said. “At present, the Railways’ financial situation is under stress and we need to find a solution,” said Prabhu, while also asking NGOs, trade organisations and others to maintain the stations, and said that the government will soon come out with a policy. “This will allow us to take various expansion and modernisation projects effectively and in a speedy manner. It will create flexibility, and we won’t have to wait for the Union Budget,” said the minister, adding, “We need to find more avenues to generate revenues. At present, two-thirds come from cargo, balance from passenger, Budget and borrowings.” The ministry is also proposing to set up more food plazas and ready-to-eat products. “We will try to do this in the next Budget,” he said. The minister refused to take questions on FDI and others relating to the ministry. According to him, the major constraint for the ministry is financial resources for implementing the projects. At present Rs 6-8 lakh crore worth of projects had been sanctioned across the country. Meanwhile, the minister flagged off the new train service today from Chennai Central to Visakhapatnam.
The new superfast service was necessitated due to constant increase in passenger traffic. The weekly service will cater to the growing segment of inter-city travelers. Many express trains are also being run on this route, the Southern Railway said. It also announced the launch of Chennai Central-Kamakhya premium AC express to cater to tourist, business segment and students travelers from here to northeast destinations. The train will cover Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal.