For railways, Santa Claus never came all this while: Prabhu
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday drew a parallel between the Centre's decision to get railway infrastructure financed from resources outside the Budget to that of Santa Claus coming on Christmas eve.
"Santa Claus comes only when he wishes to. He will not come when you want him to come. The railways has been waiting for Santa Claus for too long," he said addressing a gathering after launching various infrastructure projects of the Konkan Railway simultaneously in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
"Unfortunately, the Santa Claus had many-many other children to take care of, so he did not find railway as a very attractive destination," he said.
The minister was referring to the union government's initiative to have railway infrastructure financed by raising resources outside the Budget.
"We have started financing railway infrastructure by raising resources outside the Budget. I prepared a (infrastructure upgradation) plan of Rs 8,66,000 crore which I presented to the Parliament more than two years ago.
"I am happy to say that during the last two and a half years, the amount of capital expenditure we have created is about Rs 3,50,000 crore," he said.
"This year the capital expenditure, the plan outlay is Rs 1,31,000 crore. The finance minister has provided the support of Rs 65,000 crore, so the balance of Rs 66,000 crore is coming from outside the Budget.
"So if we don't create infrastructure at the right time and if we still wait for the Santa Claus to come, it will not happen," the minister said.
Prabhu said all these years the lack of funding for railways resulted in several negatives.
"Railways did not get money and it suffered. The suffering of the railways was reflected in the fact that our capacity to add freight was going down, efficiency had gone down, we were not able to upgrade infrastructure... electrification and all of this had taken a big hit," he said.
Hailing the achievements for last couple of years, Prabhu said "at first we (government) decided to raise the resources."
"The World Bank is keen to finance the railways and the Asian Development Bank has also come up with the proposal to finance the railways as they claim that they have seen so much action in this department," he said.