Mos, Railways, stresses distinction between private participation and privatisation
GN Bureau | March 27, 2015
The railway ministry wants people travel in trains out of willingness and not out of compulsion, Manoj Sinha, MoS, has said. Talking about efforts made by the Indian railways to ensure safe and comfortable journey for the passengers, he said that the ministry will ensure that customer’s experience in railways is delightful and by choice.
READ: Private investment needed, not privatisation, says MoS Rail
Sinha, who was speaking at 'Reflect', an interactive session organized by Governance Now on Friday, dwelt on a host of issues concerning passengers including the amenities and safety.
He said that railways has already introduced coaches in which probability of fire will be negligible. He informed that 40 percent of accidents occurs due unmanned level crossings and the railways are ensuring that there are no unmanned level crossing.
Talking about slew of measures the minister informed that the Indian railways will invest Rs 8.5 lakh crore in next five years. To raise this large sum, the ministry is working for developing resources. About major investments he said the LIC is investing 1.5 lakh crore rupee. Coal ministry has also proposed Rs 50,000 crore.
He also added that “as of now our priority is to provide double link, triple link tracks. We also want to increase the speed of trains including passenger and freight trains.”
Talking about competition he said that past experience in different sectors has shown that competition always works for good. “We will also try and bring competition in the Indian railways projects,” he added. “We have had 18 rounds of dialogue with the stakeholders. What we have realised is that there was lack of railway investment policy. Two crucial meetings have taken place in this regard."
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Rubbishing the speculations about the privatisation of the railways he said that “we invite private sector investment and not privatisation. The industry has been little apprehensive about the participation because of lack of consistency in government’s policy. “
Talking about on the governance issue Sinha said that performance audit and benchmark setting will be ensured in the working of the railways. "We are also mooting performance audit and benchmarking. Waste of financial resources will not be tolerated in Modi government."
On passengers amenities, the minister said that the railway ministry is focusing on “Time, Convenience and Safety” of all passengers. He informed that the ministry will spend Rs 1.25 lakh crores on passenger amenities. Old coaches in several trains will be changed while to make sure the cleanliness in toilets around 17,000 bio toilets are to be fitted in trains running on different routes.
He also said that the safety of passengers is the priority while commuting and that all the officials are being gender sensitised to ensure safety to female passengers. Toll free number 182 is one such initiative of the railways to ensure safety of female passengers.
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