Railways, Defence spar over 19 Northeast lines

Source:  indianexpress.com

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. More info

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