NEW DELHI: Railways minister Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday the government does not plan to hand over the railways sector to private players and said that Indian Railways will never be privatized, adding private investment should be encouraged for more efficient functioning.
He said the country can progress towards high growth and create more employment opportunities only when the public and private sectors work together.
“Indian Railways will never be privatized. It is a property of every Indian and will remain so,” the minister said while addressing the ongoing Parliament session in the Lok Sabha, adding that it will remain with the government of India.
The statement comes amidst protests from lakhs of bank employees across states over privatization of two public sector banks. State-run banks are currently under a two-day strike.
The minister further asserted that the sector has been focusing enormously on passenger safety and no deaths have been reported due to any rail accidents in the past 2 years.
“We are focusing on passenger safety. I am happy to say that there has been no passenger death in past two years. The last death due to train accident happened in March 2019,” he said.
Under the Modi government, investment in railways has been hiked to Rs 2.15 lakh crore in 2021-22 fiscal, from Rs 1.5 lakh crore in 2019-20 fiscal.
Last week, railway board chairman Suneet Sharma had informed that as of March 12 railways freight loading for the financial year 2020-21 has surpassed the level achieved in the last fiscal. “This gives us a great boost and proves how the railways has continued to be the driving force of the economy. We have loaded 1145.68 MT of goods in 2020-21 as compared to 1145.61 MT last year. This is despite the coronavirus crisis which had pushed us into a deficit of 70 MT from April to July,” Sharma had told news agency.