Besides proposing FDI in railways in all areas except operations, railway minister Sadanand Gowda also underlined increased PPP for improving facilities
GN Bureau | July 8, 2014
Promising to put the Indian railway on course correction, the Modi government in its maiden railway budget presented before parliament on Tuesday announced emphasis on completing the pending projects rather than announcing new ones.
Besides proposing foreign direct investment (FDI) in railways in all areas except operations, railway minister Sadanand Gowda also underlined increased public-private-partnership (PPP) for improving the facilities.
Gowda said projects worth over Rs 20, 000 crore, which are pending at various stages in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh would be completed soon.
The other highlights of the budget include announcement of bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad and a high speed diamond quadrilateral project connecting major cities across India, which would later be turned into a high speed corridor.
Chardham – the Hindu religious places – Dwarka, Puri, Rameshwaram and Badrinath – would be connected through direct rail links.
The budget announces special milk transportation trains in association with Amul and National Dairy Association Board.
While it announces suburban rails for Bangalore for which a feasibility study would be conducted, Mumbai local would get 860 new, state-of-the art coaches and 64 new electric multiple unit (EMUs) would be introduced across the country.
In total 58 new trains, including five new Jansadharans, five premium trains, six AC express, 27 express trains, eight passenger trains, two mainline electric multiple unit (MEMU) trains and five diesel-electric multiple unit (DEMU) were announced.
Gowda also announced the extension of 11 trains' route. He also proposed GIS mapping and digitization of railway land and said the bulk of future projects would be financed through PPP mode.
By recruiting 17,000 RPF that would include 4,000 women constables, there would be an increased stress on passenger security, the minister announced.
Ultrasonic system would be introduced to detect problems in tracks to increase railway safety besides doing away with 5,400 vulnerable unmanned level crossing with automatic systems.
The new budget also focuses on increased cleanliness in trains and stations which the minister said was one of the biggest complaints of the passengers. For this there will be a separate house-keeping wing that will manage 50 major stations.
The minister said that the Indian railways was “starved “of funds and the recent hike in fares to the tune of 14.2 per cent would will bring in Rs 8000 cr whereas the railways need more than 9 lakh crore only to complete the golden quadrilateral project.
Indian railways has a rail-network of 1.16 lakh km, 63,000 passenger coaches, more than 2 lakh wagons and over 13 lakh employees.
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