Short on funds, the railway ministry is pitching for “national projects” to ease its burden of laying new lines across the country. In a national project, the expenses are borne by the union finance ministry and budgetary support.
“We want the finance ministry and the planning commission to accept projects for constructing new lines in key border areas as ‘national projects’. These lines are strategically important,” railway minister Dinesh Trivedi told HT. He added that China has already built major railway lines along the Indian border.
The pitch for national projects in states having international borders may also provide Trivedi with resources to add a few more railway links in his party’s bastion of West Bengal — a state that shares its border with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.
Trivedi’s efforts also coincide with the fact that the railways could only build around 180 km of new lines against the target of 1,000 km during 2011-12.
Trivedi’s predecessor and political boss Mamata Banerjee had wanted similar help to make lines that would promote inclusiveness “in those parts that are detached from all infrastructure development and facilities”.