Panaji, Jul 6: Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday said some sections of the Indian Railways can be opened up for investment from the private sector which can operate their own railway lines by paying license fees and stressed that the largest public transport in the country will not be privatised.
Addressing a press conference at Sankhali in North Goa, about 30 km away from the city, before launching a party membership drive in the state, Mr Goyal said, “There are different models we can follow. We want the Indian Railways to grow. There could be some sectors where the private sector can lay their own lines, we would not have a problem. They can take a licence from us. Railways will be able to increase its revenue. If it can increase its revenue, it will be able to give better facilities to its passengers. Our mind is open.”
“But Railways by itself will not be privatised. Railways belong to the government, it will stay with the government. The big investment (in the railways sector) belongs to the government and it will be in the service of the public,” he said.
The Railway Minister said the government had set an ambitious target of increasing freight on the railways, which had decreased to 30 per cent.
''We have seen that in the last 65 years, before the advent of the Modi government, investment had reduced in the Indian Railways, as a result of which infrastructure has increased by only 30 per cent and the passenger and freight traffic has increased by 1500 per cent. The estimate is obviously that passengers and freight will face discomfort and safety will be decreased due to overload,” he said.
Mr Goyal said in year 2013-14 the capital investment allocated to the Indian Railways was only Rs 40,000 crore to Rs 45,000 crore while in the current year, the expenditure on capital investment had gone to Rs 1.60 lakh crore.
The Union Minister said private sector would be critical to attaining investment target of Rs 50 lakh crore as the government would not be able to invest Rs 50 lakh crore alone.
''Our efforts are to bring in technology of international standards, (attract) investment or a Public Private Partnership or a TOT (toll operate transfer) model, which yesterday Nirmala (Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman) referred to…,” he said. (UNI)