Railways, Defence spar over 19 Northeast lines

Discussion in 'Economy & Infrastructure' started by AVERAGE INDIAN, Nov 18, 2014.



    Sep 22, 2012
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    Detroit MI
    Railways is headed for a tussle with the Defence Ministry over the classification of 19 rail sections in the Northeast as “strategic lines” for the Army. The Defence Ministry recently denied a railway proposal to include these lines/projects in the list of strategic links. Railways is not willing to treat it as the final word because it says the yearly losses on account of the lines is huge.

    Railways had proposed to the Defence Ministry that apart from the 14 strategic rail lines already identified, an additional list of 19 lines be also termed “strategic” because they are either primarily along international borders or are links to the strategic lines. Traffic is minuscule in many of these lines and are largely being used for the movement of men and materials of the Army. The resultant operating losses for Railways, for instance, on three of those lines alone are upwards of Rs 122 crore per year. In three of the other gauge conversion works involving connectivity to Tripura, the annual loss in pegged at Rs 318 crore, as per documents accessed by The Indian Express. Terming them “strategic” would exempt Railways from annual dividend payable to the government and would also entitle it to reimbursement of the operating losses.

    After a couple of reminders over the past one year — the last one being in September — involving senior Railway Board officers writing to Defence Secretary R K Mathur, the latter finally got back last week to say that these 19 lines are “out of the purview of the Armed Forces”.

    “These lines have associated fund/revenue related issues and do not directly support (other than Bogibeel Bridge and Sevok-Rangpo line) Army’s strategic requirements,” says the letter from the Defence Ministry to Additional Member (Works), Railway Board, V K Jain. The reply from the Defence ministry has Railways geared up for further action.

    “It is not like the final word on this has been spoken. All this while only letters were being exchanged…Now we will have meetings with them and try to explain our point of view. It is an inter-ministerial issue that we hope to resolve at this level,” Chairman, Railway Board, Arunendra Kumar told The Indian Express.

    Most of the lines in contention have been bleeding railway coffers even though they were constructed to feed the strategic lines identified by the Defence Ministry.

    “Most of these lines are financially unviable and Indian Railway is forced to pay dividends on the amount spent for construction of the lines. It is becoming difficult to sustain this,” Jain had said in his letter to the Defence Secretary on September 16. Currently, 14 rail lines are identified by the Army as strategic lines.

    - See more at: Railways, Defence spar over 19 Northeast lines | The Indian Express
  3. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

    Jul 29, 2010
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    Govt to bear the loss in the initial years once the region is developed and trade picks up these lines could eventually become viable.

    Populate these areas if they are habitable with Bangladeshis and Pakistanis hindus who came here to seek refuge.
    pmaitra likes this.

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