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Modi rules out privatisation of Railways

Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays floral tribute to the statue of Madan Mohan Malaviya, in Varanasi on Thursday.  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday categorically ruled out any plans to privatise Indian Railways, but said he was committed to bring in huge investments, domestic as well as foreign, to ensure turnaround of the sector that would give boost to nation's economic growth and development. He also announced plans to set up four railway universities and explore the option of utilising railway stations in rural areas as skill development centres.

"Rumours being spread about privatisation of the railways were totally wrong and baseless... I have never thought about it and will never do it,” Mr. Modi said after kick-starting the expansion project of Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) here. Asking railway employees unions to trust him and work for modersnisation of India's largest transporter, he said: “My vision is to make railways backbone of India's progress and economic development.”

Asserting that he was committed to bring in huge investments that were needed for the sluggish railways, the Prime Minister said: “We will also take technical help from Japan and China (to emulate their model of development in railways).” “We cannot afford to pump in money in railways at the cost of other sectors like education, health and roads...We will borrow money at low rate of interest and pump in modernisation and technical development of railways. We will also modernise our stations and provide better facilities to passengers as well as our railwaymen,” he added.

Mr. Modi, who also dedicated first air-conditioned diesel locomotive with advanced technical features, announced plans for setting up of four railway universities that would generate manpower and skilled workers for the railway sector. He further said railway stations in rural areas that had very limited footfall would double up as skilled development centres to train rural youths. Stating that he has used his MP fund to provide basic amenities for passengers in Varanasi railway station, he urged all MPs to also utilise their funds to make stations better in their areas.

On a day when his government marked the birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as 'Good Governance Day', Mr. Modi began his day-long visit to his Parliamentary constituency by inspecting cleaning of 'ghats', particularly ancient Assi ghat cleaned by NGO Sulabh International, on the river Ganga. He also launched the Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching to mark the birth anniversary of founder of Banaras Hindu University, Madan Mohan Malviya, whose name has been announced for Bharat Ratna along with Mr. Vajpayee. He also unveiled the plaque of the Inter-University Centre, besides launching 'Varanasi Mahotsav' that would revive local crafts and help local artisans.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2020 12:40:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/prime-minister-modi-rules-out-privatisation-of-railways/article6725144.ece

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