Railways need regulator to woo private players: Prabhu
Railways has initiated the process for setting up of a regulatory body on the lines of telecom sector, said Union Minister Suresh Prabhu who has asked the NITI Ayog Chairman to prepare the roadmap for it.
Asserting that there was a need for having a regulatory mechanism independent of the public transporter for getting private participation, Prabhu said once the model was ready it would be put on the website for wider discussions.
“A regulatory mechanism is specifically required...so that private participation does not compromise public interest, does not hamper public function. Private sector also need not worry about the security of their investment. We have to trade off the balance between private and public,” Prabhu told in an interview. Asked about the contours of the proposed body, he said it would be like regulators for telecom and power.
“Arvind Pangarayia has been requested to suggest a road map. He is independent, very intellectual, very competent and also part of our system as he is the vice chairperson of NITI Ayog. He met me recently and we discussed the issue. Once he is ready with the model, we will have wider discussion and we will put it on website for comments,” he said.
Railways have been offering projects relating to capacity augmentation, betterment of passenger amenities and high speed service among others for private participation. During the interaction, Prabhu also talked about a new initiative of integrated transport solution to arrest the passenger fall.
Asked to elaborate on the plan, he said “we have talked to several states and cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai. I also spoke to Mamata Banerjee and I will go to Kolkata for this. We will together plan it so that there is an integrated strategy for it (transportation system).
Under the system, all the modes of transportation will be inter-linked to provide point-to-point service. On the recent CBI raids suspecting irregularities in the weight of freight carried in trains, Prabhu said it was a joint action to remove corruption. “When we discovered that there could be a possibility of under-weighing, we asked our vigilance to go into the root cause, investigate and take action. It’s a joint action and we have clear instruction to our vigilance department that go to the root cause.
“Earlier, I had lodged a complaint with police for recruitment scam in railways. Somebody was sending letters that you have got the job immediately so deposit money in some account. FIR was filed at different locations. The whole idea is to bring in transparency and remove corruption.”