Expressing concern over its financial condition, railways minister Dinesh Trivedi on Friday said the public sector unit behemoth could go the Air India's way if the government fails to show the same resolve it is showing to bail out the national carrier.
The minister said government should prioritise its focus while considering Railways' financial condition as it adds to the GDP and affects directly the common man. "I am afraid it (Indian Railways) can go Air India's way," he said in the national capital while reminding of the government's pro-active approach to bail out Air India.
A group of ministers had recently decided to work out an overall bailout package of more than Rs 20,000 crore for Air India, including infusing additional equity worth Rs 6,600 crore and asking banks to work out its corporate debt restructuring.
"The government must sincerely consider to help railways, at least, on the safety issues", which he contended has been compromised due to financial status. His reaction came after a high-level safety review committee headed by Anil Kakodkar presented its report to the Railways on Friday suggesting an investment of Rs 1 lakh crore to upgrade its safety related infrastructure.
Trivedi said the government's ambitious food security programme, which rests much on railways for transporting food grains, would end up nowhere if the adequate budgetary support from Railways is not forthcoming to bolster its operation infrastructure.
Statistics show railways is running in negative zone and a high-operating ratio which is hovering about 100 per cent is matter of concern for the national transporter. Hundred per cent operating ratio means railways earnings less than it spends.