Union Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal on Tuesday said in the Lok Sabha that the Centre will not privatise the Railways. Goyal was replying to a discussion on the demands for grants for the sector, he however added that private investment should be encouraged for more efficient functioning, PTI reported.
“Let me be clear, Indian Railways will never be privatised, it is India’s asset and will remain India’s,” Goyal said. “But even the roads are India’s. Does anybody say that only government vehicles will run on those roads? Roads are a facility and more the number of vehicles that run on them, the better it is.... So once the railway tracks are laid shouldn’t we look for better facilities? If there is scope for good private investment, we should welcome that.”
The railway minister also said that solar panels have been installed in 1,000 stations and 400 railway buildings. He claimed that by 2030, India will become the first country to become a “net zero railway” as far as carbon emissions are concerned, ANI reported.
As for passenger safety, Goyal said that the government’s focus on the area had ensured that there was no passenger death in the past two years, PTI reported. “The last death due to train accident happened in March 2019,” the minister said.
Goyal further said that the central government increased investment in the Railways to Rs 2.15 lakh crore in the current fiscal (2021-’22), from Rs 1.5 lakh crore in the previous financial year.