Vital railway infrastructure projects to continue amid Covid-19 pandemic
Vital infrastructure projects of the Indian railways including high speed corridors, the dedicated freight corridors, signalling projects or projects for launching new trains will not be impacted by the Railway Board order to keep all new work sanctioned for 2020-21 fiscal in abeyance in a bid to rationalize cost in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
Hindustan Times on Thursday reported that the national carrier plans to put on hold new infrastructure projects sanctioned in the current financial year other than those related to safety work, according to a Railway Board order issued on Tuesday. The ministry has clarified that the order will not affect any ongoing vital infrastructure projects of the railways. “Ministry of Railways has to abide by the instructions of the ministry of finance. However, sufficient resources exist and have been provisioned for to ensure that wheels of progress and modernization continue to move at rapid speed. The order is not going to impact any of vital infrastructure projects of Railways. It is not going to impact our mission of 100% electrification of routes, doubling tracks, any of railway high speed corridors or DFCCIL, vital signalling projects, projects to launch new modern trains/locomotives, passenger amenities or any project to enhance safety,” the ministry told HT.
“It may be noted that there is no reduction in capital expenditure for infra works. The full capex would be utilised. Ministry of finance order will not to impact railways’ massive infrastructure development program,” the ministry added. The order issued by the railway board refers to a directive issued by the finance ministry in June on government spending in the year.
In a communication sent to all zones and public sector undertakings (PSU) on Tuesday, the railway board said projects that were previously approved but have made insignificant progress “shall be kept frozen till further orders except those which are essentially required for safe running of trains”.
The board has instructed zonal railways to review all projects already approved by them.
“Exemption for sanction of works which are considered essential and inescapable will be obtained from the ministry of finance,” the order added.