The Union Minister of Railways and Commerce, Piyush Goyal has said no casualties have been reported in railway-related accidents since April 1 this year. Piyush Goyal who is currently in Sweden also ruled out the possibility of privatisation of the Indian railways and said that it will continue to remain under the government. Additionally, he also asserted that the Centre is planning to install WiFi services inside the trains in the next four to four and a half years.
Speaking about the railway-related accidents the Union Minister said, “In the current year, from April 1, 2019, till today, we have had zero fatality in the Indian Railways. I have ruled out privatisation of Indian Railways. It will continue to be an Indian government entity. It serves the people of India. But I do believe in large investments in railways”.
Talking about providing WiFi services in running trains, Piyush Goyal said, “We are also trying to provide WiFi services at all 6,500 stations by the end of next year. It is a more complicated technology subject. Giving WiFi in running trains requires investment ... Towers need to be put and there has to be equipment inside trains. In this, we might have to bring in foreign technology and investors. It will help a lot in terms of security as CCTVs would be there in every train compartment and its live feed will go to the police station. The signalling system will work in a better manner through the WiFi facility. In the next four or four-and-a-half years, we will start this facility."
Piyush Goyal talking about the involvement of private players in the India Railways said, "We are modernising stations with the help of private players like we did in Bhopal for instance where a private company has modernised the entire station. It is nearing completion. NBCC is working at 12 to 13 locations to modernise the station and simultaneously to develop the complexes for housing, commercial activity, shopping malls in a cross-subsidy model. Once these models become successful, there will be faster rollout across the country.”
The Union Minister also added that the Centre is planning to segregate station modernisation with the monetisation of land. He said, “There are lots of possibilities to involve the private sector in these activities. There are several locations across the country where there will be a huge demand of Railway land. We have planned to use railway land for solar installation in a big way. Under the leadership of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we want to make Railways the world's first zero-emission Railway.”
Piyush Goyal also said that in another four-five years, Railways will be 100% electric. He said, “We are also planning for industrial parks on railway lands. It's a new area. We are trying to locate certain parcels of land, which the Railways does not require, and which can at some stage become industrial parks and generators of a number of jobs and working opportunities while adding to the economic activity of India”.