Railways needs investment of Rs 50 lakh crore by 2030 to make it world's best: Piyush Goyal

File photo: Piyush Goyal. Photograph:( ANI )

ANI Panaji, Goa, India Jul 07, 2019, 07.42 AM (IST)

Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday said that Indian Railways needs an investment of Rs 50 lakh crore by 2030 to make it the "world's best."

"I have never spoken about the privatisation of Railways. What is said in the Budget is Railways are an important mode of transport. And ever since Railways have reached Goa, we have felt that there is a big change and tourism has increased in a big way. When we speak about the future then till 2030, in 11, 12 years, railways will need an investment of Rs. 50 lakh crore, if we have to make it the world's best railway service," Goyal said here at an event.

"This includes aspects like passenger safety, ensuring a comfortable journey, expansion of railway tracks to accommodate more passengers. We have also set an ambitious target for increasing of freight on the Railways which has now shrunk to 30 per cent and when we have seen that in 65 years, before the advent of the Narendra Modi government, investment had reduced in the Indian Railways, as a result of which infrastructure has increased by only 30 per cent and the passenger and freight traffic has increased by 1500 per cent," he added.

Goyal stated that the estimate is that "passengers and freight will face discomfort and safety will be decreased due to overload."

"In the last five years, we have more than doubled capital investment in the Railways. This year too Rs 1.60 lakh crore capital investment we have planned in the Railways. In 2013-14 it was around Rs 40,000 to Rs. 45,000 crore. Such is the change which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought in Indian Railways. But when you look ahead, the government will not be able to invest Rs. 50 lakh crore alone. Our efforts are to bring technology of international standards, investment or a Public Private Partnership or a TOT model, which yesterday Nirmala Sitharaman referred to toll operate and transfer. There are different models we can follow. We want the Indian Railways to grow," he said.

Goyal said that Railways by itself will not be privatised.

"Railways belong to the government, it will stay with the government. The big investment (in the Railways sector) belongs to the government and it will be in the service of the public," he said.Meanwhile, on the mining issue, Piyush Goyal stated that the central government is "committed to solving the issue."

"The Chief Minister has had several meetings without leadership in Delhi. He has had several meeting with the Prime Minister on this issue. It is a very difficult issue, which has to be resolved within the framework of the law and yet recognising the special situation in Goa. The legal department in Goa and the law ministry in Delhi are working together to see how we can find a solution, given the fact that the Supreme Court had earlier ordered that all natural resources of the country have to be auctioned."

He added, "This was the order in the wake of the massive Coalgate scam, which the Congress and UPA had indulged in which they had given away large amount of mines to select parties. But Goa has a peculiar situation where mining has been going on for so many years. These are no new mines, so we have to find a solution within the ambit of the law, recognising and respecting the Supreme Court judgement and the unique position of Goa. We stand committed to finding a solution. We will work with the Goa government, but we will also need to respect the law of the land."

On the occasion, Piyush Goyal also remembered former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and called him a "good friend and a big brother."

"He was a tough party worker and an ideal worker of the party. We worked closely with him. He was a patriot and an uncommon leader. He was never a leader, he was a party worker who became a Chief Minister and reached heights of his political career. This is the speciality of the party. I remember whenever Narendra Modi addressed party workers, he has said that the party and the government's strengths is based on the party workers. It is the biggest party in the world. Workers provide a bridge which connects government to the people," Goyal said.

Piyush Goyal said that BJP does not believe in dynasty politics, but banks on its party workers.