‘Railways needs Rs 3-trn yearly investment to meet country’s aspirations’

“If we won’t do it then we will never be able to cross subsidize passenger fare,” Ashwini Vaishnaw said


Indian Railways | Ashwini Vaishnaw

The Railways will need to target a revenue of Rs 3.5 lakh crore and an investment of Rs 3-lakh crore every year to meet the country’s aspirations, the government told Rajya Sabha Thursday.

During a discussion on the working of the ministry, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw attacked opposition members and past governments, alleging they only talked about vision and preparing concept notes, but did not taking any action to implement them.

The minister said that to meet the aspirations of the country, its citizens and the future generation over next 10 years, the Railways will have to target to ferry 1,000 crore passengers every year from about 800 crore currently, and increasing the cargo load from 140 crore tonne to 300 crore tonne.

“If we won’t do it then we will never be able to cross subsidize passenger fare,” he said.

“For this, we will have to increase cargo 2-2.5 times. Not freight charge, (but) volume. We will have to reach a revenue of Rs 3.5-lakh crore and invest Rs 3-lakh crore every year. Then only we will be able to meet the aspirations of this country,” he said.

The minister also alleged that past governments lacked the clarity of vision, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a clear decision that the Railways needs to move away from diesel and go for electrification.

“Good that you gave a concept but what work did you do? It’s good that you gave a vision document. It’s good that you gave the concept but will the country work on the concept? You will have to show the work,” he said, referring to the freight corridor project.

He said that the concept note for the corridor came in 2004, the foundation station was laid in 2006, but not a kilometre of the project was commissioned under the previous government.

“How many kilometres were commissioned? Zero. Only Zero. This was the condition. Today how many kilometers have been commissioned? 1,010 kilometres,” Vaishnaw said.

He said that a “policy paralysis” situation existed in the entire country under the previous regime and the Railway was affected as well.

“I don’t want to snatch your credit. You have a lot of things to your credit. 2G, coal, commonwealth. We don’t want any of your credit. These statistics are before you,” Vaishnaw said.

Agitated by Vaishnaw’s remarks, Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge interrupted his speech briefly.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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