What was suspected has now been revealed: The financial health of the railways is progressively and rapidly becoming worse. A mid-year appraisal of rail finances presents disturbing facts.
Until June end, earnings of the public transporter are short of budgetary targets by as much as Rs. 1,783 crore. Passenger, goods and sundry earnings are short of targets by Rs. 1, 254 crore, Rs. 427 crore and Rs. 104 crore respectively and passenger earnings have subsequently been rationalised downwards, says an internal report.
A re-assessed plan outlay for 2012-13 — which is lower by Rs. 3, 150 crore — has now been worked out for the public transporter. The re-worked plan incorporates a downward adjustment in the annual plan for allocations, including capital fund, development reserve fund and development fund by Rs. 645 crore, Rs. 1,721 crore and Rs. 784 crore respectively.The ordinary working expenses have been slashed by Rs. 2,700 crore, the report reveals.
With reduced allocations under these heads, the railways is expected to remain starved of funds for its infrastructure projects which include construction of new tracks and signaling systems and even passenger safety works.
The alarming scenario has been brought out in a report ahead of the general managers’ meet scheduled later this month.
Until June end, passenger earnings — at Rs. 7, 288 crore — are short of targets by Rs. 1, 254 crore, with the growth rate in eight of the 17 railway zones being less than that in 2011.
For the three months of this fiscal, freight earnings — at Rs. 20, 913 crore — are short of targets by Rs. 427 crore — with 10 railway zones showing a negative trend.