23 Sep 2018
Railways Ministry spent Rs. 13.46cr on inaugurations via video-conferencing: RTI
The Railways Ministry has spent Rs. 13.46cr on the inauguration of various rail projects and services via video conferencing between Nov'14 and Sep'17, according to a reply to an RTI query.
The expenditure was incurred on 166 events, including inauguration through video link of new trains, escalators, FOBs, waiting halls, and toilets built at different stations, replied the RailTel Corporation of India.
Amount was spent when Suresh Prabhu headed the Ministry: RailTel
Replying to the query filed by Mumbai-based RTI activist Manoranjan Roy, the RailTel Corporation, an information and communication technology arm of Railways, said the government spent the huge amount on inaugurations when Suresh Prabhu was the Railways Minister.
The corporation is tasked with arranging technical logistics for video conferencing, mainly laying broadband connection from the venue to the nearest station, a railway official said.
These expenses are wastage of taxpayers' money: Railway official
"The other logistics like stage, curtains, flowers, refreshments, sound, lights, LED screens are arranged by the local railway administration," an official said.
Kailash Verma of Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee, the Western Railway's panel of commuters, said such expenses are unnecessary and wastage of taxpayers' money.
While another official contended that the Ministry is also investing huge sums to ensure better facilities to travelers.
Railways has invested money for passengers' comfort: Another official
"In the last four years, the Railways has invested huge money for passengers' comfort and witnessed a quantum jump in the execution of projects. In this comparison, such expenses (on inauguration) are not so high," the other official said on condition of anonymity.