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Railway projects to be deferred due fund crunch


Several sanctioned railway projects will be delayed due to lack of funds, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi said, projecting an investment requirement of Rs14 lakh crore by 2020 for modernisation and expansion.
Trivedi said this in Lok Sabha as he sought and got approval for a meagre amount of Rs1 lakh in the Supplementary Demands for Grants for 2011-12 after a debate spread over several hours on Tuesday.
"We have come to Parliament with Supplementary Demands for Grants of Rs one lakh. This is only a technical demand as mainly some new safety related projects have to be taken up and parliamentary approval is required," he said in a speech which was laid in the House due to uproar created by the Opposition on various issues.
The grants and the Appropriation (Railways) Bill were passed in the din by voice vote. Trivedi said the railways would need a huge investment of around Rs14 lakh crore by 2020 for new projects, besides the requirement of modernisation, infrastructure expansion and passenger amenities.
The Railways faces huge financial constraints. There is a limitation of the rail system to generate ample resources for expansion and upgradation, he said. Noting that the backlog in completion of sanctioned projects and new lines alone would require over Rs1 lakh crore, Trivedi said, "For want of adequate gross budgetary support, these projects are suffering and completion will get unduly delayed.
The situation has been compounded by the reduction in the internal resource generation capacity of the Railways due to implementation of the 6th Pay Commission.

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