NEW DELHI: With several critical projects stuck for reasons ranging from paucity of funds to problems related to land acquisition, the Cabinet Secretariat has asked the Rail Ministry to send a state-wise list of pending key rail projects along with specific issues where intervention could happen at the level of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha in a letter to A K Mittal, Chairman, Railway Board, last month said the list and details should be sent to the Cabinet Secretariat by August 21.
“This is regarding identification of such critical projects on which cooperation of state governments is required and which need to be brought to the notice of Chief Ministers by the Prime Minister,” said the letter.
Sinha also said that an updated list of such projects be sent to the Cabinet Secretariat every quarter, within 15 days of the closure of that quarter. The Railways is in the process of collecting the list from the zonal railways concerned. “We have told Cabinet Secretariat that we will first take up the matter with states at the level of Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. If there is no progress, then it can be taken up at the Prime Minister’s level,” said a senior Railway officer.
The matter of pending rail projects has been discussed during the review of infrastructure projects by Modi from time to time.
During the meeting, it was decided that letters must be sent once in a quarter from the Prime Minister to Chief Ministers highlighting the cooperation required from the state for the critical projects of the state government concerned.
“The Cabinet Secretary has decided that critical projects requiring such intervention may be prioritised state-wise,” said another letter from the Cabinet Secretariat, mentioned by Sinha.
There are over 360 rail projects pending for 30 years. Prabhu refrained from announcing new projects in the Rail Budget and said focus is on completing pending projects.
The Railways has been banking on extra budgetary support to complete its pending projects. It is expecting an extra budgetary monetary support of Rs 8.5 lakh crore during 2015-18.