CHENNAI: The Railways’ development and maintenance work is expected to slow down due to a severe fund crunch following the suspension of train services during the lockdown. The Chennai division of the Southern Railway, which earned a whopping Rs 3,202 crore in 2019-20, made just Rs 1,407.22 crore in 2020-21. Southern Railway officials say the drop in revenue won’t impact ongoing projects, but Express has learnt that upkeep of stations and projects related to passenger amenities are likely to be affected.
The Chennai division’s earnings, which stood at Rs 3,328.69 crore in 2016-17, dropped to Rs 3,048.91 crore in 2017-18. It then rose to a whopping Rs 3,721.48 crore in 2018-19, and Rs 3,202.62 crore in 2019-20, before plunging to Rs 1,407.2 crore in 2020-21.
The earnings from passenger ticketing fell from Rs 2,014.52 crore in 2019-20 to Rs 476.83 crore in 2020-21. Between 2016 and 2020, the Chennai division had an average of 50 crore passengers per year. In 2020-21, the figure fell to 7.6 crore, the documents showed.
A spokesperson of the Southern Railway, meanwhile, said the loss in revenue won’t impact the developmental work. “Funds for ongoing projects are released through the annual budget centrally. The Proposed works to upgrade passenger amenities will continue.”