‘Don’t shed crocodile tears,’ Goyal tells oppn

‘Don’t shed crocodile tears,’ Goyal tells oppn

Agency News

New Delhi, Jul 12 : Attacking opposition parties for questioning the corporatisation move for the railway projects, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday asked them not to shed crocodile tears.

''Truth is if we have to improve amenities in Railways, capital is required. Freight capacity has to be improved. PPP model will be increased in projects and some units will be corporatised, Why are you shedding crocodile tears now?'' Mr Goyal said replying to the debate on Demand for Grants 2019-20 for Railways.

The House passed the Demands for Grants pertaining to the Ministry of Railways with voice vote.He said the corporatisation scheme in Railways too was started by the Congress and this move will help bring in money from overseas sources also. He maintained that there was no question of privatisation of Railways.

For new technologies, new projects, new stations, semi hi-speed trains, investment should be invited, he stressed.

About projects in West Bengal and Kerala, he said the state governments were not cooperating. Some of the projects started in 1974-75 in West Bengal were pending as the state government did not provide land, adding that Rs 42,000 crore was allocated for the state. In Kerala also, a 24-year old project connecting Guruvayur temple town to Thiruvananthapuram was pending as even Final Location Summary was not done, he said.

He also said the Prime Minister has given green signal to projects in Karnataka and sub-urban railway project for Bengaluru has been proposed.

Replying to issues about punctuality of trains, he said dismantling the manual system, now automatic data lockers have been put in place. Of late, punctuality has improved and there is transparency in every task.

"Previously they depended on manual system when station masters used to note timing of trains arrival and departure. We have introduced technology," he informed the House.

The Lok Sabha on Thursday night debated at length Demand for Grants for railways with as many as 99 members taking part in the same.

Mr Goyal talked about 'Rail Dristi' app, which showed placement of trains, condition of stations among other things.

''We are completing what you started. You ask about Rs 50 lakh Crore investment for Railways, this demands courage and this is our responsibility. We are working with 'Nayi soch, nayi disha,'' he said.Emphasising that root cause analysis was done before allocating funds, he said Rs 4.5 lakh crore was allocated for dedicated freight corridors and Rs 1.5 lakh crore for Golden Quadrangle.

Mr Goyal dismissed the opposition parties contention that merging Railway Budget with the main Budget for a financial year was an erroneous move and claimed that on the contrary entire country has appreciated the decision of the Modi government.

"Railway Budget used to be Rajnaitik (purely political Budget)," Mr Goyal said in Lok Sabha giving reply to the marathon round of debate on the Demands for Grants for Railways.

"Such a Budget (separate Railway Budget) was strictly made for political reasons and was only aimed to misleading (gumrah) the entire country and the MPs," he said.

Hundreds of trains and tracks used to be announced "just to win elections and to make people in constituencies happy", Mr Goyal said.

In his speech, he lauded the role of two of his predecessors Suresh Prabhu and D V Sadanand Gowda for putting the rail back on track.

He also congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving a new vision to the railways."Prime Minister Modi has done away with the separate Railway Budget," he said amid thumping of desks by his colleagues in the ruling side.

"It was a decision of Desh-heet (national service) and Jan-heet (service for the people)," Mr Goyal said.Railway Minister also referred to the launching of freight corridor project by the UPA regime since 2007 but said in seven years between 2007 and 2014 - only Rs 9000 crore was sanctioned for the same."....but not even one km of track linking was done," he remarked."However, after 2014, we brought in improvement in the same work, fast paced work.....and in just five years, we invested Rs 39,000 crore," he said adding 1900 km track linking too has been done.

"By 2021, two freight corridors will be ready," Mr Goyal said.

He defended the government stance on PPP model to bring about improvement in the running of railways."We will encourage PPP model," he said and maintained this will bring in improvement in freight carriage network also.

Mr Goyal said in next 12 months, all trains will have bio-toilets, adding that of the 2,40,000 proposed bio-toilets, work for 2,10,000 was already done.

Citing data, he said in 2004-2009 there were 28 escalators and 19 lifts installed, but in 2009-2014, the numbers were 115 and 58 and in the next five years, there were 457 escalators and 377 lifts.The number of accidents halved to 59 from earlier 118, he said. (UNI)