Expansion of rail network need of the hour, says Suresh Prabhu

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Congestion of rail network is posing a serious bottleneck for traffic growth and the need of the hour is expansion of the network with investment, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said today.

Addressing All-India Management Association conference here, the minister said there was "infrastructure deficiency" in railways.

Blaming years of low investment in rail sector for the current bottleneck, he said, "We are suffering from the past mistakes. Today's problem in railways is because of the past practices."

Currently all major trunk routes are facing heavy congestion, restricting the movement of goods and passenger trains.

"Today 17 per cent of the total rail route is handling 60 per cent of the total traffic load. Some of our lines are using 100 per cent capacity," he said and added "That is why we have undertaken a massive task of rail expansion like laying new lines and doubling."

He said investment is railways would have a multiplier effect on the economy.

"When we lay new lines we need steel. If we construct, then cement industry would grow. For safety upgradation, signalling and telecom sector would get a boost. So any investment in rail sector would leads to growth in economy," he said.

Referring to changes in railways, he said now complaints are being addressed instantly as one can get it registered quickly through social networking site.

"Passengers encountering any kind of problem can be tackled in real time basis. Whether it is cleaning issue or catering or TTE asking for bribe, one can seek redressal instantly," Prabhu said.

Railways are encouraging people to post their travel-related woes on social networking site as a dedicated staff is monitoring these sites round-the-clock.

Prabhu also mentioned the ongoing accounting reforms in railways and said, "We are shifting towards outcome-oriented accounting system now".