Piyush Goyal says "no question of privatising railways", flays Congress over Rae Bareli coach factory
Piyush Goyal said passengers want a comfortable journey and the capacity of railways to carry goods should increase, therefore "The government has decided that in the future it will encourage more public-private partnerships."
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal today said there was "no question, no meaning" of privatising railways, but added that the government was keen to boost investment to create more facilities for passengers and improve technology while encouraging public-private investment. Replying to the discussion on the demands for grants of his ministry, he accused the Congress party of shedding "crocodile tears" over the corporatisation of some units, saying the Modi government was carrying forward a process that was initiated earlier.
Piyush Goyal said, "Sometimes it is said we are going to privatise the railways. We have spoken loudly so many times that nobody can privatise railways. There is no meaning, no question of privatizing railways," adding "The truth is that if you want to increase the facilities of railways, spread them to all parts of the country, we need big investments."
Saying that allegations about privatisation had been replied earlier and repeating them will not change the truth, he said that passengers want a comfortable journey and the capacity of railways to carry goods should increase, therefore "The government has decided that in the future it will encourage more public-private partnerships."
To increase route length, to bring foreign investment, he said, we will corporatise some units. You started it, we will complete the work you left half-finished, adding "Why are you shedding crocodile tears that there is corporatisation? We have been elected to complete the tasks you did not do."
Goyal accused the Congress-led UPA government of slow progress on crucial projects such as dedicated freight corridor.
He said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has proposed an investment of Rs 50 lakh crore in railways and related areas in the next ten-twelve years and has laid a roadmap of how the railways will move forward.
Congress flayed over Rae Bareli coach factory
The Railway Minister today hit out at the Congress over the Rae Bareli Modern Coach Factory, saying it had not made a single coach till 2014 when Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister. Speaking in the Lok Sabha over Demands for Grants for his Ministry, he said the Rae Bareli factory made its first coach in 2014 although the project was sanctioned in 2007-08.
Acording to him, "Not a single coach had been made till we came in power in 2014. Employees were not appointed and tenders were not opened. When Modiji came to power, he directed us to appoint employees and make coaches. And the first coach was produced from the factory in 2014."
The Minister said the coach production continued to increase every year and a total of 711 coaches were made in 2017-18 while the annual coach production capacity of the unit was 1,000, adding "New engineers were contacted and new technology was adopted to increase the production and a total of 1,425 coaches were made in 2018-19."
Goyal said the government`s aim was to make the factory capable of producing 5,000 coaches and become the world`s largest such factory.
Midnight discussion on Railways
Earlier on Thursday, the Lok Sabha on set a record by continuing with its proceedings for more than 12 hours to discuss the Demands for Grants for the Railway Ministry. The discussion ended two minutes before midnight. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi today said the discussion went on till midnight because every member wanted to take part.
Joshi said it was the first time in nearly 18 years that the Lower House had sat this long, adding that more than 100 members took part in the discussion. "Undoubtedly, it was a record."
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During the debate, the opposition accused the Centre of selling the assets of Railways instead of developing the sector while the government argued that it had doubled the capital expenditure compared to the UPA rule.
Intervening, Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi told the Lok Sabha that a lot of developments had taken place under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi like making its functioning "apolitical".