Railways will continue to be national asset, no one can privatise it: Goyal

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New Delhi, Mar 17 (PTI) The Indian Railways will not be privatised, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday as he reeled out the government's measures, including a record budget allocation, to bring back the lost glory of the country's largest employer.

Replying to a discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the working of the railway ministry, Goyal said efforts are being made to attract investments for the development of the rail infrastructure and improving passenger amenities.

'The railways is an asset of the nation and it will continue to be so. Nobody can privatise the Indian Railways,' he said.

The minister further said the country needs to attract private investments to provide better facilities to the passengers and while the government has increased its spending, the requirement is much more.

Recalling the initiatives taken by the railways, he said the services have improved and one can see more cleanliness at stations, better toilets and enhanced passenger amenities. The focus is also on improving the facilities for differently-abled persons.

In the coming years, train travel will be 'better than air travel' with good facilities, Goyal said.

'If we work together, then in the coming days, rail travel will be even better and more convenient than air travel. Passengers will prefer a good train service, which is safe, secure and comfortable, less time-consuming and city centre to city centre,' he said.

Train travel has become safer and there was no passenger death in the last two years due to a train accident, the minister said.

He said the timing of the freight trains has improved and most of the passenger trains run on time. Any delay is analysed and corrective action is taken immediately, he added.

Responding to the criticism of private sector involvement in the railways, Goyal said like roads are used by both private as well as government vehicles, railway tracks can also be used by the private sector to provide better train services to the passengers.

He further said under the National Rail Plan, three new dedicated freight corridors have been identified, which will need massive investments. Similarly, Goyal added that the government has identified several routes for bullet trains, in addition to the Mumbai-Ahmedabad project.

'If private capital comes and makes things fast, how will the country lose?' he asked.

The minister said the Centre is working to improve the rail network in the country and expressed confidence that the states will cooperate. PTI MBI RC