ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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NEW DELHI- Railways Prepare Their Case

NEW DELHI Railways Prepare Their Case THOSE managing the affairs of Rail Bhavan are a worried lot these days. Railways have been in the red for the last five years. Deficits began to emerge at the close of the Third Plan. The position has since been steadily deteriorating and has now become precarious. The reserve fund of about Rs 100 crores, rather modest for this huge undertaking' built up in earlier years has been exhausted. This year the deficit, after meeting the statutory charges on earnings, is likely to be nearly Rs 70 crores. This well established and largest of our public undertakings, in which over Rs 3,000 crores of public funds are invested' is heading towards a position where it too may become a drain on the general exchequer instead of making its due contribution to it as it has done for so long. In any case, the assumption that railways will be able to raise Rs 300 crores, in addition to Rs 525 crores by way of depreciation reserve fund, to finance their Fourth Plan programme has been knocked out, RADICAL RETHINKING CALLED FOR The railway administration can easily advance many plausible, some even convincing, reasons for this state of affairs. They can be self-righteous and argue that what has come to pass was really beyond their control. After all, they assert, railways have indeed improved their efficiency in difficult times and in the midst of strains and obligations imposed on them which, strictly, were not theirs to shoulder. However, this approach to the problem can hardly give much comfort and will certainly not help to find solutions. Time has come when radical rethinking on the entire working of railways as the principal and most organised component of the transportation system A the country is called for. This is certainly not a task for only the railway . administration to tackle. The Government and the Planning Commission too have to be Involved in this if the outcome is to be effective. It is a matter of satisfaction that a few in the top echelons of the railway administration are showing stirrings of bold thinking and a new approach. But the rest are still stuck in routine.

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