Indian Railways getting future-ready; Piyush Goyal explains
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said safety was the first priority of the Indian Railways and that passengers were well aware why trains were getting delayed. Highlighting the achievements of his ministry, at a press conference, Goyal said the Indian Railways had registered its best ever safety record in 2017-18 with consequential train accidents reduced to 62 per cent -- from 118 in 2013-14 to 73 in 2017-18.
"Maintenance of the tracks, which was due for decades, is causing train delays. The passengers are well aware why the trains are getting delayed and they know that the Indian Railways is getting future-ready. Everyone knows what we have received in inheritance," Goyal said.
Goyal also said that an unsafe Indian Railways was passed on to the present government by the previous UPA government. He also said that the Rail Safety Fund which was announced by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003-04 was not taken into consideration by the UPA government.
He also stated that in the last four years, the annual capital expenditure in the Indian Railways was more than double the average of what it was during 2009-2014. There is a 59-per cent increase in the average pace of commissioning new lines -- from 4.1 km (2009-14) to 6.53 km per day (2014-18).
According to the minister, about 5,000 km of railway tracks were renewed in 2017-18. The railways aimed at doubling its income to become "self-reliant" in six-seven years. Adding to this he also said that the Railways had provided free wi-fi services at over 675 stations and it planned to extend the service to over 6,000 more stations.
The BJP minister also said Indian Railways had embarked on transitioning to sustainable rail transportation with a six-time increase in electrification -- from 610 RKM in 2013-14 to 4,087 RKM in 2017-18.
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In 2017-18 it had recorded the highest ever freight-loading of 1,162 MT and 1,107 MT in 2016-17. With a 12-per cent increase the freight earnings had also shot up, projected to be around Rs. 1.17 lakh crore in 2017-18, Goyal said.