Railway Board chief sees tougher days ahead
New Delhi: The slowdown and an outgo of Rs.14,600 crore to pay arrears will make the going more difficult for the Railways this fiscal, a senior official said here Friday.
"Last year was difficult and this year is going to be more tough for us," said Railway Board chairman S.S. Khurana after Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee presented the rail budget in the Lok Sabha Friday.
"The year 2009-10 imposes greater challenge for us. We have the burden of paying 60 percent of the arrears of employee salaries," Khurana told reporters at Rail Bhawan, the seat of the Railways Ministry.
The Rs.14,600-crore outgo is to meet the recommendation of the Sixth Pay Commission, he added.
Salaries account for about 45 percent of the ministry's expenses.
"The last two quarters were difficult for the railways as the growth in freight revenue fell below 2 percent and that is why we failed to achieve the target by Rs.2,500 crore," Khurana said.
"However, we are looking at various measures to counter the challenges and achieve our target this year."