New Delhi: Substantial increase of goods transportation by trains is the need of the hour, new Railway Minister CP Joshi said after taking over the Ministry on Saturday which has come to the Congress kitty after 16 years.

Joshi, who is also Surface Transport Minister, has been given the additional charge of railways by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after the resignation of TMC leader Mukul Roy.

"Railways is very important as far as infrastructure is concerned. Substantial increase in goods transport in railway is required. Now the balance in goods transportation is tilted in favour of road transport. Railway have always more share in goods transportation in developed countries," Joshi said.

Railways has set the target of carrying 1025 million tonnes of freight during the current fiscal.

The ministry have come to the Congress kitty after 16 years as it was with the allies like RJD, LJP and TMC all these years.

Asked whether it will be a conflict of interest between Surface Transport Ministry and Railway Ministry as far as goods loading is concerned, Joshi said, "It will not be a conflict of interest as both are supplementing each other.

"The more effective mode of transportation will help in economic growth. Railways need more transportation of goods than the existing loadings being carried today."

He said both railways and surface transport ministry have equally important role to play in sustaining the GDP growth in the country.

Joshi, however, declined to comment on the possibility of increasing passenger fares.

"I would not say anything on this. After getting details I would be able to tell anything."

About his future course of action, he said "I will discuss the issues with railway officials and with the guidance of Prime Minister I will decide the future course of action."

He also declined to comment on whether taking over additional responsibility is a temporary or final arrangement for the ministry. "I cannot answer this question. Whatever charge has been given to me I will try to do it."

On queries related railways being accident prone, he said "I need adequate time to address the issue."

(Agencies)

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