Authority being set up for modern railway stations: Trivedi

"We have already announced constitution of a Railway Stations Authority of India on the lines of AAI to develop modern railway stations with all facilities. The drawing board is ready and once other formalities are over, its Chairman, Managing Director and other officials too would be announced," Trivedi told reporters here after inspecting the Habibganj station.

When asked whether he will make this announcement in the next Rail Budget, Trivedi said there was no point waiting until then. "It is a continuous process and we are working on it. Rail Budget is just a one-day affair while we have to continuously plan for this in remaining 364 days."

The Railways Minister arrived here this morning for a meeting with Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and other MPs to discuss expansion of railway facilities in Madhya Pradesh.

To a question on plans to create world-class railway stations, he said the Ministry is working towards it. "Any station can be called world-class only when it has facilities at par with at least modern airports. World-class is a concept. It should have shops, library, neat and clean rooms and hotels among others," Trivedi said.

He said the Railways can work on the PPP model to create such facilities as it has a lot of land in its kitty and can enter into partnerships with large companies who can invest capital for such projects.

Trivedi said income from other sources need to be enhanced to raise the revenue for the railways. Citing an example of Japan, he said, "The railways in that country generates 40 per cent income from other sources on the basis of PPP models and here also we have to think on that lines. Stations like Borivali, CST, Chennai, New Delhi and Howrah, among others, could prove to be goldmines for the railways."

Speaking on the financial status of his department, Trivedi said, "We have to be a visionary to raise the railways' income and that cannot be achieved by merely raising train fares. By raising passenger fares, the railways may earn Rs 2000-3000 crore, but its requirement is Rs three lakh crore," he said.

"Our requirement is of an ocean, while by raising fares we will only get a drop," he said. Trivedi said out of the 149 projects that the Railways are currently working on, only 14 are "economically viable" while rest are "socially desirable" and, therefore, they cannot be left alone.

Railways are competent to do all this and there is no crisis, he said. Asked about poor rail network in Madhya Pradesh, he said not just rail, but also there is lack of air network in the state and he would raise the issue with Chouhan during his meeting with him.

He suggested that the state can become partner with the railways by providing land free of cost to it for development of rail facilities in Madhya Pradesh.

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