Kerala has received an outlay of Rs. 1,206 crore for rail projects in the General Budget 2017-18, an increase of Rs. 92 crore compared to 2016-17.
The increase in outlay for works in the Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad railway divisions is 224% when compared to the outlay in the railway budgets in the 2009-14 period.
Though Rs. 1,206 crore has been allocated by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the funds provided for new works, road overbridges, road underbridges, electrification, doubling, and passenger amenities in the two divisions are unknown.
The Pink Book that details the allocation has not been made public. Railway sources said the Pink Book had been worked out even though the rail budget had been merged with the General Budget. The break-up of the allocation would be available only after a press conference of Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in Delhi on Thursday.
Tamil Nadu was provided an outlay of Rs. 2,287 crore for 2017-18. In the 2016-17 rail budget, Tamil Nadu’s outlay was Rs. 1,636 crore. Officials of the two railway divisions are not enthused over the meagre increase in outlay.
It is to seen how much will be the State’s share in the Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh, a safety fund of Rs. 1,00,000 crore over five years, the 3,500-km new railway lines to be commissioned, and the dedicated trains for tourism and pilgrimage.
Since Kerala has formed a joint venture company - Kerala Rail Development Company Ltd - with Railways for cost-sharing of viable projects, the government and Railways are hoping that the State will get a couple of the 70-odd projects identified for construction and development.
The waiver of service charge for e-tickets booked through the IRCTC has been well-received. - The Hindu