Indian Railways has prioritised 126 projects for speedy execution so that freight and passenger service get maximum benefit from its completion.
Contrary to the earlier regime, now the focus is on the projects which are crucial for the nation as part of the expansion of rail infrastructure.
Earlier many projects announcements were made under political compulsion and as a result there was a huge pile-up of projects, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said while addressing the virtual conference in New Delhi.
Highlighting the budgetary provisions, he said the focus is on infrastructure projects. We have 126 projects which are in a critical stage and we are trying to complete the works, he said.
Of the current 513 ongoing projects being implemented, Railways has identified supercritical, critical projects on capacity enhancement projects on high density network routes, multi tracking projects, connectivity projects and national projects.
Going ahead with the projects where land is available, he said, "Fund allocation and targets have been planned for next 4 years. All supercritical projects will be completed by March 2022 and others will be completed by March 2024."
Referring to allocation for states particularly West Bengal, he said, "Bengal has got maximum allocation this time and asked the State's cooperation in completing rail projects." Bengal should help us in speeding up the projects in the state.
However, he pointed out that railways are struggling to get land in Bengal. "Where we have got land we are going fast to complete the project in Bengal."
Describing the General Budget 2021 as "historic for Indian Railways'', he said "the highest capex for it will act as a huge catalyst to revitalise the economy and lead Indian Railways towards Atma Nirbhar Bharat."
On electrification, he said, "Railways is marching ahead on its bigger plan like achieving 100 percent electrification by 2023, Net Zero Carbon Emission network by 2030, modernisation of railways, ease of ticket booking, online freight services. Thus, Indian Railways is on the verge of becoming a “Future Ready” network."
Replying to a question, Goyal informed that normal train services will be decided upon in consultation with other stakeholders as COVID situation is being monitored. Vaccination drive has gathered momentum but still we need to adhere to precautions and preventions.
While talking about Dedicated Freight Corridors, Goyal said monetization of assets can be taken up in stages by public listing & gradual disinvestment after DFC becomes fully operational, and DFCCIL starts registering healthy profit.
It may be noted that Indian Railways has now highest ever total Plan capex of Rs 2,15,058 crore this year.
With this increase in Capex, Indian Railways will be the driver of Indian economy. The thrust of Annual Plan 2021-22 is on infrastructure development, throughput enhancement, development of terminal facilities, augmentation of speed of trains, signaling systems, improvement of passengers/users’ amenities and safety works of road over/under bridges.
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