New Delhi: Railways Minister Dinesh Trivedi on Thursday said that Indian Railways will require Rs 5,60,396 crore to make the railways world class in terms of bullet trains and modern stations.

The Minister was replying in the Rajya Sabha during a debate on the Railways Appropriation Bill 2011 that seeks a grant of Rs 1 lakh in the Supplementary Demands for grants for 2011-12.

The Minister clarified that the demand for Rs 1 lakh is merely technical. The Rajya Sabha has also passed Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Amendment Bill 2008.

The bill seeks to enhance the powers of Railway Protection Force (RPF) to prosecute the offenders. Earlier, only the Government Railway Police (GRP) enjoyed such powers.

Trivedi said the law will help in controlling the crime related to the railway property.

Speaking on issue of raising such a massive amount of Rs 5,60,396 crore for the modernization of railways, the Minister added, “We had to look forward to the private sector and our focus will be on Public Private Partnership (PPP) to develop several railway facilities including modern stations.”

The Minister said the report of Railway Safety Review Committee, headed by former Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar, will be tabled in a month. The committee was formed to tackle growing menace of railway accidents.

Trivedi also informed the house about an expert committee formed under chairmanship of telecom and IT expert Sam Pitroda, to help Railways in raising resources. He also said that signaling technology is being improved and regular maintenance work is being carried on railway bridges.

Several House members from different parties also voiced their concern over the poor health of railways and alleged that the government is not doing enough to improve the condition of the largest passenger carrier.

JPN/Bureau