Railways minister Dinesh Trivedi has proposed a correction in fares to provide cleaner and safer services for the public, but he still has the mammoth task of dealing with the pending rail projects across the country.
The projects described as 'unfulfilled aspirations of the people' have a throw-forward liability of over Rs 1 lakh crore.
Trivedi, in his budget speech, said 487 such projects - among them new lines, gauge conversions, doubling and railway electrification - are pending."With a grossly inadequate level of budgetary support, I can frankly and honestly admit that most of these projects cannot be completed in a time-bound manner," Trivedi said.
Several of these projects - at various stages, with work on some yet to start - were announced over the last decade to keep some of the allies in good humor, analysts said.
"There has never been a correlation between resources available and announcements of new projects - most of them to meet political compulsions and demands of the over 800 MPs," said KK Agarwal, a retired member of the railway board. "How can new projects take off, when 85% of the resources go into maintenance of services, salaries etc."
Some projects were shelved because they were not feasible. "It would make sense to finish the pending before announcing new ones," said CM Khosla, another former board member said.