PM to discuss railway finances with unions

PM to discuss railway finances with unions

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will soon meet union leaders to discuss the financial condition of the Indian Railways.

The  Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has asked the railway ministry to communicate its response to the demands of the trade unions on the issue.

“The Ministry has been asked to send its views on the demands made by railway trade unions of increased finance from the government. Though the exercise has been done earlier also, but this time it will be done to address specific demands by  trade unions,” said a railway source.

Since there is a convergence of opinion between the ministry and the union, the ministry is trying to work out areas where the union government can invest.

The railways are likely to demand financial support for its ambitious projects like Dedicated Freight Corridor and such other projects.

The trade unions had submitted a memorandum to the prime minister demanding increased General Budgetary Support (GBS) to railways to make up its losses.

The All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) had also earlier supported the proposals for a hike in passenger fare to augment revenue from the passenger traffic.

However, it did not work because of the veto of the move by West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.

Confirming that a meeting with the prime minister may take place soon, AIRF General Secretary Shiva Gopal Mishra told Deccan Herald : “ The date is yet to be finalized. We hope to receive some communication in this regard.”

“In addition to the increased budgetary support, we would press for the deferment of dividend to the Government of India. It will help the railways a lot,” said Mishra.

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