Railways to recommend FM to impose 15% export duty on iron ore

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New Delhi, Apr 21 (UNI) Keeping in view the interests of domestic industry, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad today said his Ministry will recommend to the Finance Ministry to impose 15 per cent export duty on iron ore.

''We will recommend to the Finance Ministry to immediately impose 15 per cent export duty on iron ore as a measure to protect and preserve exports of iron ore for value addition services by domestic industry,'' the Minister said here.

Speaking at an interactive session on 'Public Private Partnership in Indian Railways'' organised by Assocham, Mr Prasad said, ''infrastructure is key to any nation's growth. With 64,000 km network and 11,000 trains, Indian Railways is improving infrastructure and generating employment for many.'' For improving the country's lifeline, the government has initiated the groundwork for PPP model, however, no basis for selecting the private players has been set up yet, he added.

Elaborating on his Ministry's future plans, the Railway Minister said he would lay down his office with a surplus of about Rs one lakh crore. Railways surplus in FY08 are estimated at Rs 69,000 crore.

On the issue of movement of grains through railways, Mr Prasad said it would move grains and other items on priority basis for Public Distribution System (PDS) purposes and there would not be any shortages of wagons to transport grains supplies.

Expressing concern over the rising water crisis, he said the railways would come forward to integrate various rivers across the country whose waters could be supplied through huge pipeline networks that would be laid on both sides of railway tracks.

''The proposal is at the preliminary stage and, if accepted, could be used for supplying drinking water and also for irrigation purposes,'' he mentioned.

On the dedicated freight corridor (DFC) project, the Minister apprised that various leading financial institutions such as World Bank, IDBI among others have been coming forward to financially support it.

''The Government of Japan seems to be reluctant to Eastern Corridor Project, but we are making our arrangements for technological partnership so that the project is executed,'' he said.

The Minister also announced that in the nearly 7,500 railway stations across the country, the railways would set up Krishi outlets on which the farmers could sell their produce. However, he did not divulge further details.


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