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Indian Railways gets Rs 1.5 lakh crore boost from LIC

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

In what is described by the railway ministry as “one of the largest funding for the Indian Railways”,  Life Insurance Corp (LIC) committed Rs.150,000 crore to Indian Railways for development of various commercially viable projects.

The investment will be done in bonds, over a period of five years. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the finance and the railway ministry.

On the occasion, railways minister, Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said that the investment will make Indian Railways prosper in the future, encouraging initiatives and lead to speedier execution of projects.

Speaking on the occasion, the Railway Minister said that this is the first such step in its endeavour to make Indian Railways prosperous in the future. He said that with such encouraging initiatives, the Ministry of Railways will be able to augment its resources for speedier execution of projects. Prabhu said that the resultant enhanced throughput of traffic is likely to further increase the capacity to carry more to meet with a growing transportation demand leading to a robust economy.

Under this MoU, LIC will make available to the Ministry of Railways/its entities a Financial Assistance with a limit of 1,50,000 crore over the next five years for implementing Railway projects. The Financial Assistance will be available from the Financial Year 2015-16. In his Budget Speech, Shri Suresh Prabhu had announced his intention of meeting a part of the total Plan Budget of Rs 1,00,011 crore for the financial year 2015-16, through extra budgetary resources, such as market borrowings by tapping low cost long term funds. The challenge has been successfully met in a substantial measure by the signing of this MoU for mobilising resources.

There would be a five-year moratorium on interest and loan repayment and the rest of the terms would be negotiated while signing the finance assistance agreement.

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Korea To Survey Railways That Were Cut During The Korean War

The projects are among many agreements reached between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

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Korea, Railways
A South Korean train transporting South Korean officials runs on rails that lead to North Korea inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in Paju, South Korea. VOA

A South Korean train entered to North Korea on Friday as the two countries began inspecting northern railways tracks they hope to relink with the south.

About 30 officials from each side will participate in an 18-day joint survey of railways tracks cut since the Korean War.

“We will maintain close consultation with related nations so that the project to connect the South and North’s railways could proceed with international support,” South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said during a ceremony at Dorasan Station near the border.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae. VOA

The Koreas, however, cannot proceed much further with the project without the removal of U.S.-led sanctions against the North.The U.S. has said the sanctions will remain until North Korea takes convincing measures toward full denuclearization.

The UN Security Council granted exemptions to sanctions last week, allowing the implementation of the cross-border infrastructure project.

Also on Friday, the North and South militaries completed removing 20 front-line guard posts and land mines from a border area where they plan to start their first-ever joint search for remains of soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War, according to an official from Seoul’s Defense Ministry who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Also Read: North Korea Open To Nuclear Site Inspection: Report

The projects are among many agreements reached between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their three meetings this year, as part of a diplomatic initiative that eased tensions over the North’s nuclear program. (VOA)