Integrated transportation system for Railways soon, no privatisation: Suresh Prabhu

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Railways is finalising a multi- modal transportation system in coordination with other agencies to serve the passengers in a better way. Acknowledging problems concerning train services, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today said an integrated policy is needed to address these.

“There are problems and I am aware of it. There is a need for integrated policy to address those problems,” he said here while participating in an interactive session to highlight problems being faced by passengers.

Welcoming suggestions from the public to improve rail system, he said, “Railways should not become an arena of politics. It is an asset of the nation.” He said this when told that successive railway ministers had used Railways to further their political interest.

“In order to cater to the needs of passengers, an integrated multi-modal transportations system will be formed. We are working out details in consultation with other concerned agencies,” he said.

Though Prabhu did not elaborate on it, the system is perhaps aimed at integrating various modes transportation like bus and Metro service with train schedule to provide end to end service to commuters so that a passenger after alighting from a train gets a convenient transport to reach home. He also highlighted the need for a perspective plan for five years as a mid-term vision to take the national transporter on the growth track.

“Annual Rail Budget is alright. But there is a need for five years perspective plan as a mid-term vision for the Railways. We will come out with such plan,” Prabhu said this when asked about the forthcoming Rail Budget.

“It is important to know and identify the problems plaguing Railways. That is why we are bringing out a White Paper identifying those problems and also suggest ways to address those issues,” he said.

Prabhu also reiterated that Railways will remain with the government though there will be private investment in the rail sector. “If the private investment is in the interest of passengers and Railways then let it be. But it will remain with the government,” he said allaying apprehension against privatisation of Railways in the near future. He, however, said full potential of Railways has not been realised yet.

“The average speed of train is not much. There are so many stoppages which hamper the speed. Rolling stock is also old. Our rolling stocks, signaling system need to be upgraded for realising the full potential of railways,” he said. He said there are challenges but these have to be tackled.

“We have to solve them as these are a challenge for the country and not Railways alone.”

On the cleanliness issue Prabhu said, “An integrated waste management system should be formed to tackle the issue and we have launched the cleanliness campaign as part of Swachh Bharat Mission.” On the financial front he said there is a need for about Rs 6 lakh crore to complete all the pending projects.

Prabhu agreed to a suggestion for creating a super class coach with higher ticket rate for those who can afford. He also agreed to another suggestion that the coaches meant for ladies and disabled persons should not be at the end of the train but at the middle. In order to facilitate easy availability of tickets, Prabhu said many new initiatives like mobile ticketing are being launched in certain routes.

“We want to use the technology in a bigger way to provide better passenger service,” he said.