Prime Minister Narendra Modi today again praised Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu for carrying out reforms in the public transporter.
“No one has given attention to the reforms being undertaken in railways till now. Those who talk of big reforms can see how much changes have come in the Railways,” Modi said at the launch of Setu Bharatam Project here.
Prabhu has unleashed a series of reform measures to make the Railways a financially viable organisation.
While steps have been taken to constitute a regulatory authority to decide on fares and also to give a level playing field to private investors in railways, a separate Railway Planning and Investment Organisation will be formed to work out various investment opportunities.
Railways will also set up a holding company for all Railway PSUs for better coordination and consolidation in fiscal matter.
Prabhu has announced launching of seven missions to take forward activities with time bound targets. Missions are for switching over to 25 tonne axle load, increasing speeds, accounting reforms, commissioning 100 sidings/private freight terminals in 2016-17, preparing a blueprint of utilizing the network once DFC is commissioned, zero accident for safety and for procurement and consumption efficiency.
Modi had also praised Prabhu yesterday for accelerating the pace of development of railway infrastructure network while replying on President’s Address in Lok Sabha.
PM had compared the money spent on rail projects, such as laying of new lines, doubling, gauge conversion and electrification and commissioning of new lines during UPA’s 10-year rule and NDA’s two-year period to counter opposition’s barb on his government’s performance in the House.
“The average yearly spending for development of railways during 10 years of UPA was Rs 9,291 crore and it was Rs 32,597 crore in our two years,” PM had said adding “How much new rail lines were laid? During UPA-I, the average was 1477 km... It improved slightly during UPA-II to 1520 km and during NDA it is 2290 km.”
Defending Prabhu’s decision not to announce new trains in the Railway budget, Modi said that earlier trains were announced in Parliament to get claps from a few MPs but now the focus in railways has changed to laying new lines, gauge conversion, electrification.