FDI is welcome, though not in core operational areas, says the Union Minister of Railways. Decision on new zone for Andhra after October 14
Secunderabad (SC): The new government will honour all commitments made by the earlier regime pertaining to development and expansion works of the Indian Railways, Minister of Railways D.V. Sadananda Gowda categorically stated here.
“However, we will review all of them and take every project, after duly prioritising the works based on the government’s current focus on improving safety of passengers, especially women and children, security of railway installations and improved services,” he told a press conference here on Friday afternoon. On the pending projects, he said it would take a whopping Rs. 5,00,000 crore to complete them.
“We gross about Rs. 30,000 crore as operational revenues and get another Rs. 30,000 crore from budgetary support, annually,” he said. Private sector participation is necessary if the Indian Railways is to be taken to the next level. He said foreign direct investment is welcome, though not in core operational areas. “We only need the ground to run our trains, so we have no objections if a private player wants to use the space above, to build a shopping mall or a multiplex after taking it on lease for 30 or 35 years. We have received good response,” he said.
Earlier, he inspected an impressive Passing-Out Parade of the 53 batch of 421 Cadet Sub-Inspectors (SIs), including the 2 batch of 42 women SIs at the Railway Protection Force Zonal Training Centre (ZTC) in Moula Ali. He said proposals for the ZTC to be upgraded as a Centre of Excellence are under active consideration because the RPF urgently needs a national-level training institution, considering the Railways focus on ensuring safety and security.
Very soon, 17,200 personnel, including 4,000 women officers, would be recruited and all vacancies would be filled across all departments, he said. Earlier, Director-General, RPF, Krishna Chaudhary, appraised the Minister of the initiatives being taken by the force to enhance security levels across the length and breadth of the vast network of the Indian Railways.
Because RPF personnel work in naxalite-affected areas and also because of the increasing crime on board trains, they need to be equipped with firearms. Jaya Singh Chauhan,, Secretary of the Jagjivan Ram Training Centre, Lucknow, presented the training report, and others present were General Manager of South Central Railway (SCR) P.K. Srivastava, Chief Security Commissioner, RPF-SCR, S.C. Parhi, and Principal of the Training Centre, G.M. Eswara Rao.
Union Minister of Railways D.V. Sadananda Gowda on Friday said that only after October 14, when the Experts Committee looking into all aspects concerned with the Railways submits its report pertaining to the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, would the details of the new zone be firmed up.
“Every detail spelt out in the States Reorganisation Act and everything that I said on the Floor of the House will be implemented,” he said, adding that every project sanctioned by the previous Government would also be considered. He cited as examples, the Coach Factory at Kazipet with an installed capacity of 1,200 wagons – general and tanker type and the Mid-Life Coach Factory proposed near Kurnool and explained that once Government clears the allocation of land, work would start in right earnest.
The Minister declined to divulge details and said that they were waiting for the report to be submitted by the committee.