Union Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal is scheduled to apprise Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the progress of the crucial Bilaspur-Leh railway line, people familiar with the matter said.
The Bilaspur-Leh line seeks to significantly expand access to projects as well as support movement of troops and equipment to border areas, boosting Jammu and Kashmir’s connectivity with the rest of the country.
Goyal’s presentation will include newer deadlines for freight corridors, fast tracking bullet trains, revenue shortfall on account of the Covid-19 pandemic, station redevelopment, ways to mop up additional revenue to keep railways afloat and private investment in various railways projects, the people said.
“The meeting is scheduled for Saturday morning and it will include a presentation by the minister on crucial projects, revenue condition of railways, other important matters in railways,” one of the people told ET. “Railway cadre merger is another crucial area which the minister is expected to take up,” the person said.
Goyal has said previously that the Covid-19 virus outbreak had altered timelines and deadlines for completion of projects. The ministry was, however, expediting the project and had gone ahead with the land acquisition procedure in Himachal Pradesh, the people who are in the know of developments said.
The railway ministry has estimated revenue of only about 10-15% in the passenger segment, implying a loss of up to Rs. 35,000 crore, as movement of passenger trains continues to be restricted to prevent the spread of the outbreak.
ET had reported previously that the railways had decided to include its flagship dedicated corridor project in its asset-monetisation programme, along with railway stations and trains, as it looks to attract large investors.
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