Cash crunch hits Railways; Rs 2,000 cr sought from Fin Min

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New Delhi, Oct 2: Amid delays in execution of a number of key projects, the Railways is exploring several options for their successful implementation even as the state-run behemoth has reached out to the Finance Ministry seeking over Rs 2,000 crore loan.

The cash surplus of the Railways has reduced to Rs 75 lakh while its working expenses have increased from Rs 41,033 crore in 2007-08 to Rs 73,650 crore in 2011-12. The pension outgo during the same period has also increased from Rs 7,953 crore to Rs 16,000 crore.

There are also problems in iron ore and coal loadings due to various reasons, as a result of which it appears difficult for the Railways to meet the freight target of 993 million tonnes in the current fiscal.

Fearing that fund crunch could delay ongoing development works which also include safety work, it has sought an immediate loan of over Rs 2,000 crore from the Finance Ministry, a senior Railway Ministry official said.

Recently, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi took up the matter with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and sought his intervention.

Railway Finance Commissioner Pompa Babbar is meeting the Finance Secretary next week to finalise the modalities of the loan from the Finance Ministry, the official said.

On the nature of the loan, he said it would be a "bridge" loan and its modalities are being worked out.


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