BENGALURU:Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu on Thursday called for the setting up of an Integrated Transport Solutions Authority to take care of the city’s transport problems.
He was speaking at the flagging off of four trains from City station. Prabhu said it needs to be a multi-modal facility involving transport utilities like the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL), the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and the Railways. A similar plan has been suggested by the Railway Ministry to handle transportation issues in Mumbai as well, he said.
Prabhu sought the setting up of special purpose vehicles (SPVs) by the Railways and various state governments jointly to expedite rail projects. He said both the Central and state governments need to contribute to this as it would promote equal opportunities for all the states.
He said the SPVs could be set up on the public-private partnership model. For instance, if a project were to cost Rs 400 crore, the state and the Centre would have to bear an equal share at present. If an SPV is set up, the Centre can contribute Rs 100 crore and the SPV can mobilise `300 crore by borrowing from financial institutions. Ministries of Coal, Oil and Gas, Cement and Steel can be consulted so that rail lines that are vital for a particular sector can be laid, the minister said.
Funds Through CSR
Prabhu said another mode of generating funds for the Railways is through corporate social responsibility schemes. If companies could increase their share of CSR funding from 2 to 4 per cent and contribute towards providing toilets, drinking water and other facilities at railway stations, many stations can be developed tremendously, he said.
Earlier, Prabhu flagged off the Yeshwantpur-Katra Weekly Premium Express from City station, and the Patna-Bangalore Weekly Premium Express, Kamakhya-Bangalore Weekly Premium Express and Tatanagar-Yeshwantpur Weekly Express through the remote flagging mechanism around 2.30 pm. He also laid the foundation stone for the construction of a foot over-bridge connecting all platforms of City station, except platform number four.
Meanwhile, Union Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda urged the Railways to launch the Chennai-Bangalore-Mysore high-speed rail corridor, a day train between Bengaluru and Mangaluru and rail connectivity to Kodagu. MP P C Mohan used the opportunity to announce a contribution of `1 crore from the Member of Parliament Local Area Development scheme for improving infrastructure at Whitefield railway station.
‘Will Act Against RPF Man’
When Prabhu was asked about the action that would be taken against an RPF personnel caught on camera thrashing a physically-challenged beggar at Howrah station in Kolkata, he appeared to be in the dark about the issue.
The footage was aired on numerous TV channels on Wednesday. After officials briefed him, the minister promised to take action.