Parliament's panel expresses its concern about the slow progress in the placement of new railway lines, the conversion of the meter

NEW DELHI: A parliamentary panel has signaled serious concerns about slowness Progress in the laying of new railway lines and the conversion of meters while appreciating the pace of work in duplication, renovation and electrification.

The current situation has also signaled the fall in revenues due to the deficit in the objective of passengers and cargo, poor operating relationship and a greater dependence on external loans. Railroad ministry officials have cited how low-cost airlines and massive highway expansion affect railroad passenger and freight traffic. In addition, the economic downturn has affected its income even more.

The report on the demand for subsidies was presented in both houses of Parliament on Monday.

While praising the definitive momentum for the expansion and modernization of the network in the budget estimates for 2020-21, the committee has noted that during 2018-19, only 479 km of new lines were placed against the 1,000 km target, which indicates a deficit of more than 50%. It also noted that the budget objective for 2019-20 was halved to 500 km from 2018-19, which was revised to 400 km at the stage of revised estimates.

"The actuals as of January 2020 were 278 km. The committee members are of the view that downward revision of the plan allocations require reworking of priorities and rescheduling of activities which ultimately lead to tardy Progress . The committee therefore, call upon the ministry to review all the pending projects for new lines considering their economic viability, critical importance, etc., and prepare an action plan to implement them in a definite time frame so that these projects are completed expeditiously," the report said.

Similarly, in the case of track renovations, the panel has observed that during 2018-19, against a target of 4,400 km, the achievement was 4,181 km. Similarly, during 2019-20, compared to the 3,900 km target, the achievement was 3,872 km until January 2020. The goals for the renewal of the tracks for 2020-21 have been set at 4,000 km. While appreciating this achievement, the committee recommends that the railways should give top priority to this sector and accelerate/maintain the healthy pace of road renovation currently established, as it is critical to the sustainable operations of the rail network, the committee said. .