Hours before the debate on his railway budget, a combative former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi defended his actions in an interview with Outlook. Excerpts:
Are the railways moving towards privatisation?
Railways have been totally insulated from any kind of privatisation as far as operations are concerned. The operation areas are signalling, tracks, rolling stocks. We are only using private sector for developing stations, manufacturing rolling stock as you have no money to invest in setting up factories. There is nothing of privatisation. There is nothing like a private airline in railways except on the freight side, but there too, the tracks are ours. We are losing the focus in just argument for the sake of argument. If you are not going to raise the fare, where is the money going to come from?
There is a charge that the Planning Commission has framed your budget.
Whether the general budget or the rail budget, we’re bound by the oath of secrecy....