NEW DELHI: Describing the financial health of Indian Railways as being "too close for comfort", Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu Friday said there was need for massive investment in the sector.
"Railways require big investment. There is no fund for investment. There is requirement of Rs.6 lakh crore to Rs.8 lakh crore for completion of announced projects," Prabhu said at the Agenda Aaj Tak event here.
The minister said he had set some new rules regarding procedure. "I have ordered that not a single tender should come to me. Decision making should go to the general managers."
Regarding the railway unions' opposition especially to foreign investment in the sector, Prabhu said the unions views "need to be considered and I will convince unions that it is for the interest of railways and the public".
"They have threatened strike, but everybody needs to talk. Thursday we are talking to them," he added.
Last week in Mumbai, the minister said foreign direct investment (FDI) in railways is necessary as projects worth Rs.500,00-Rs.600,000 crore are stuck for want of funds.
On privatisation, he said: "The basic aim is that rail service should be better and the ideology is not the issue here."
He emphasised that railways cannot be privatised on the pattern of other sectors like road and aviation.
"Outcomes are important. Railways cannot be privatised like road sector or aviation sector," he said, adding: "The government owns the railways in many countries."