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Railway Minister Roy stresses need for meeting pending project deadlines

Kolkata , Mon, 26 Mar 2012 ANI

Kolkata, Mar.26 (ANI): Railway Minister Mukul Roy has stressed the need to meet deadlines set for the completion of pending railway projects.

Roy told media here on Monday that all projects initiated by Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and former railway minister Mamata Banerjee during her two-year tenure would also be looked at.

"We will be holding a meeting to discuss the pending projects of eastern, southeastern and metro rails. While considering all the projects of the eastern and southern railways, all the projects that Mamata had started for all of India, will be discussed in the meeting for eastern and south eastern railways. To ensure that the projects end on time, we are holding this meeting with the officials and we will decide on time frames to decide on when the projects will be finished," said Roy.

Roy was sworn in on March 20 as the country's new Railway Minister after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accepted the resignation of former minister Dinesh Trivedi.

Breaking with years of populist policies, Trivedi on March 14 announced the first increase in passenger fares in eight years, a move aimed at shoring up the finances of a rail network whose dysfunction has become a major drag on the economy.

The shift cheered investors but prompted a furious response from Trivedi's TMC party, a powerful regional group within the Congress party-led ruling coalition that has impeded economic reform in the past.

The furore created by the TMC led Trivedi to quit on March 18.

Roy went on to say decisions should not be politicised, highlighting that performance was the prime matter of concern.

"The question does not arise for sitting in Calcutta and Delhi. Question is, how you can perform. So I know what is my job, I know what are my duties, I know how to tackle it. So, question does not arise for sitting at Kolkata or sitting at Delhi or sitting at Mumbai," he added.

Many Indians view the railways as a service for the "common man", ferrying often-poor migrants left largely outside of two decades of surging growth that have seen millions of Indian buy cars or travel by air for the first time.

The railways form part of a vital transportation grid for the country's 1.2 billion people, cramming 18 million people a day on to ageing trains built before India gained independence from Britain in 1947.

However, decades of low investment, a patchy safety record and frequent delays mean India has fallen far behind China in building a network fit for Asia's third-largest economy. (ANI)

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