Working on strategy to treat ‘beemar’ railways: Prabhu

New Delhi: Railways is “beemar’ (sick), Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said in Rajya Sabha with an assertion that he is working on a strategy to put the national transporter on track by tackling issues like resource crunch, ageing tracks and increasing investment in infrastructure.

He said he was working on both short-term and long-term measures and following a regime of do’s and don’ts as the Railways is passing through “very difficult times”.

He said government will put in place a new independent regulatory framework for revising rail fares to help maintain a balance between consumers and Railways, for which a bill will be brought soon in Parliament.

Replying to a debate on Rail Budget in Rajya Sabha, Prabhu said he would also partner with states to make investment in rail infrastructure and 16 states have agreed to partner with railways and some have also signed MoUs.

The Minister also said all states have received more money by way of investments in rail infrastructure in this budget.

“Railways is passing through very difficult times. As some members said that Railways is ‘beemar’ (sick). It is right that Railways is ‘beemar’ and there is need to treat it and bring it on track,” he said.

Prabhu said Railways has many challenges to grapple with that include lack of resources, ageing tracks and increasing investment in infrastructure.

To revitalise Railways, emphasis is being laid on austerity and saying by reducing administrative expenses, generation of revnue, augmentation of services and optimisation of costs, he said.

The Upper House later passed the appropriation bills and the demands for grants in connection with rail budget for 2016-17, after a long debate that saw participation of a large number of members. .