New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Demand for Grants under the control of the Ministry of Railways for 2021-22 by voice vote with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal asserting that
Indian Railway will never be privatised, it is India’s property. Replying to a debate in the House, Mr Goyal said private investment in Railways should be welcomed as it will improve services and offer more job opportunities.
‘All railway stations now have toilets and we are now trying to provide the same facility for the Divyangjans, ” he said.
The Minister said Indian Railways has prepared the National Rail Plan-2030. Mr Goyal said, ‘We want to make Indian Railways act as an ‘engine for growth’ for the country.’ In this year’s Budget, the Minister said, over Rs 2 lakh crores have been invested for the improvement of railways.
He said in terms of investment, in 2004-09, it was about Rs 1.25 lakh crore and it rose to Rs 2.30 lakh crore in 2009-2014. “However, in 2014-19, during the Narendra Modi government, about Rs 5 lakh crore was invested in Railway. Recently, the amount has been hiked to Rs 2.15 lakh crore for 2021-22,’ the Minister said.
Mr Goyal said: “The government and the private sector will have to work together to ensure a better future for the country…the effort is to enhance freight loading by 70-80 per cent by 2024-25.’ ‘During COVID-19 lockdown, more than 60 lakh migrant labourers were brought back home. The RPF personnel served the passengers, over 2 crore meals were provided. Food grains, coal, fertilisers and medicines were transported by trains across the country,’ he said.
“From September last year to February this year, the freight loading by Indian Railways has been maximum despite Covid-19 and it is a record, ” the Minister said.
‘Dedicated freight corridor is monitored every week,’ the Minister said. Mr Goyal further said that solar panels have been installed at about 1,000 railway stations and at 400 railway buildings. Work is in progress on seven to eight projects of high-speed trains, the Minister said.
The discussion on the Demands for Grants for Railways in the Lok Sabha concluded yesterday.