Patna, Sep 29 (IANS) Railway Minister Lalu Prasad has denied Finance Minister P. Chidambaram's reported suggestion that the country's railways be privatised.
Chidambaram had reportedly said that Lalu Prasad could initiate the privatisation of railways by handing over charge of goods trains and small distance passenger trains to private parties.
'There is no question of privatisation of railways. Chidambaram's statement was misquoted by a section of the media,' the railway minister told reporters here late Thursday.
He reiterated that there was no chance of privatising the railways as long as he remained railway minister. He added that there was no need to hand over profit-making public sector units to private hands.
The minister said Indian Railways was doing very well with a target of netting a profit of Rs.200 billion during the current fiscal. He claimed the railways would soon leave the country's top public sector unit Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) behind in profits.
Lalu Prasad is credited with turning around the fortunes of Indian Railways, one of the largest transport systems in the world, which ended fiscal 2005-06 with a healthy cash reserve of Rs.110 billion.
He, however, said the turnaround was made possible with the help of thousands of people employed in the railways across the country.