Thu, Dec 8, 2016 | updated 07:53 PM IST

Railways headed for heavy losses due to demonetisation, says TMC

Updated: Nov 19, 2016 08:23 IST

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], Nov. 19 (ANI): Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi has said that demonetisation would result in heavy losses for the Indian Railways, as the poorer sections of society would travel more by bus than trains.

"In demonetisation, everything is running on cash and poor people would not go for online booking or use credit card. Only four percent of the population possesses plastic cards. In that case, if they travel more by bus as compared to train, then that would lead to losses for the railways," he said.

"If the economy slows down, then there will be no coal available which is bread and butter for railways, and even coal loading has reduced. So, I believe, it would be a big slowdown for the railways," he added.

Trivedi told ANI, "Even if our economy want to grow at eight percent, then Railways has to grow at ten percent and looking into the present situation, the growth in the railways has declined sharply and it grows at three percent with an operating ratio of 140. That means that to earn 100 rupees, you have to invest 140 rupees first," the former railways minister said.

"Railways require investment in large quantity in which it doesn't have to pay interest and, if we don't make railways interest free, then nobody can improve the condition of the railways," he added.

Trivedi was giving his views even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi was addressing the inaugural session of the Rail Vikas Shivir at Surajkund on Friday.

The aim of the Shivir is to generate numerous innovative ideas across most critical areas of the railway operations for substantial progress of this sector.

Such brainstorming and large-scale planning involving all railway employees is taking place for the first time in the 163-year-long history of the Indian Railways.

The Railway Ministry said the outcome of this camp would lead to rapid rejuvenation, transformation, modernisation, efficiency and productivity.

Earlier, the government had decided to do away with the practice of a separate Rail Budget and merged it with the General Budget. The idea was mooted by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and the proposal was approved by the Union Cabinet in September this year.

The practice of presenting a separate Railways Budget was introduced in 1924. (ANI)