Mumbai: Claiming that all budgetary announcements made in the Railway Budget this year have been fulfilled, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today listed a slew of projects currently in the pipeline for the country’s biggest employer.
Addressing a gathering of public representatives and railway staffers at Borivali train station here, Prabhu said, “Earlier, only announcements were being made. But I made 103 budgetary announcements in our first full-fledged budget this year and I am happy to tell you that we have fulfilled all of them.”
“Since I took over as Railway Minister, we have upgraded the website of IRCTC, launched paperless ticketing, allowed hygienic and cheaper water at stations, allowed private caterers in running trains, (undertaken) cleaning of toilets and railway premises, mechanised washing of linen, (initiated) changing the internal design of coaches, expanded the railway network, etc,” the minister said.
He was in the city to inaugurate a new Foot Over Bridge (FOB) and escalator at Borivali station. He also performed ‘bhoomi pujan’ of a proposed deck at Borivali.
“We have selected 400 major stations across the country to be developed on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model that would have facilities such as double decker entry-exit and food courts, like the airports,” he said.
“Proposal for Mumbai Urban Transport Project-3 (MUTP-3), in which we are slated to invest a mammoth (sum of) Rs 10,000 crore and which would include elevated corridor on PPP model, has been sent to Niti Aayog for final approval,” Prabhu said.
Referring to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Railway Ministry and Maharashtra government to create a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), the minister said the Centre, with active help of the state government, is committed to ease the hardships of the commuters.
“With the contribution of the state government, we can invest up to Rs 70,000-80,000 crore by setting up a joint company that would give the commuters a big respite,” he said.
Prabhu also said that work on integrated transport system is underway.
“I have asked the senior officers of the both Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR) to chalk out an action plan for Mumbai by the end of November to ease the hardships of Mumbaikars,” he said.
The minister also advocated increasing working hours of the (railway) employees in order to solve the peak hour problems.
“Normally from 8 AM to 10 AM and in the evening also, commuters face peak hour troubles. If we increase the office hours, it would have an immediate impact on the ease of commute,” he said, adding that he has written to the state government on the same.