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No privatisation, passengers safety is paramount: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal

UNI India-English 2018-06-11 21:24:36

New Delhi, June 11 (UNI) Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday asserted that there are no plans to privatise Railways and said that government has made passenger safety was the important priority of the Railways.
"Let me make it very clear that there are no plans to privatise railways," Mr Goyal told mediapersons while highlighting the achievements of the Railway Ministry in the last four years.
He added that there were no proposals of privatising the Railways and in future also it will not be privatised.
Mr Goyal also launched two mobile apps, ‘Rail Madad’ (Mobile Application for Desired Assistance During Travel), which is for the passengers to register their complaints while travelling, and ‘Menu on Rails’ is for the passengers to order food while travelling.
The railway Minister interacted regional media in 12 cities - Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Chennai, Guwahati, Imphal, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Pune, Patna, Raipur, and Ranchi, via video conferencing simultaneously.
Mr Goyal also said that the bullet train project was on track and the concerns over the project will be resolved soon.
Stressing that safety is paramount, the Railway Minister said that the massive work undertaken for maintenance of tracks was causing train delays.
“Safety of passengers is paramount for us. There are trains delays in some parts. It is because of the maintenance of the track, which was due for decades. Passengers knows that the Railways is getting future ready”, said Mr Goyal
Criticising the previous UPA government, the Minister said that even after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced Rail Safety Fund in 2003-04, it did not considered for 10 years.
“That is why we got unsafe Railway as asset. While the trains in the last two decades doubled, the maintenance of the track was delayed”, he said.
He said that 59 percent increase in the average pace of commissioning new lines from 4.1 km (2009-14) to 6.53 Kms per day (2014-18). He also informed that with the Dedicated Freight Corridors, Railways is moving towards the target of decongesting and drastically improving passenger and freight services.
The Minister said that accidents reduced to 62 percent from 118 in 2013-14 to 73 in 2017-18.
Addressing the issue of unsafe crossings on a war footing, the Minister said that 5,479 Unmanned Level Crossings have been eliminated in the last four years. 1.1 lakh safety posts are also being filled-up through recruitment amongst other measures to improve safety.
The Minister said Railways is improving passenger services including a complete makeover of stations by installing modern facilities including escalators, lifts, free wifi, while instilling local art and culture in the design.
“Government has improved trains and coaches including launching the Tejas, Antyodaya and Humsafar trains. Catering to passengers’ travel and comfort needs, 407 new train services have been launched in last four years with 1.37 lakh services to meet festival demand. Catering has also been a focus area with compulsory printing of MRP on all food items started on more than 300 Trains, and use of artificial intelligence to monitor food production in base kitchens for improving quality and hygiene”, said Mr Goyal.
He said time tabling of trains has been improved by reducing running time and allowing planned maintenance blocks. SMS services have been started on 1,373 trains for informing passengers about any delay in trains.
“Indian Railways has also focused on digital initiatives and transparency and accountability. E- reverse auction policy being introduced, which could help save approximately Rs. 20,000 crore. Simpler approval processes in Research Designs and Standards Organisation reduced process timeline from 30 months to 6 months”, Railway Minister said.