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‘Safety first, punctuality of trains will improve in coming days’

New Delhi, June 11: Asserting that safety is paramount, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday said that the massive work undertaken for maintenance of tracks was causing train delays. “Safety of passengers is paramount for us,” he told the media at a press conference here while highlighting the achievements of the Railway Ministry in the last four years. Goyal said in the last four years the Indian Railways have taken up a massive exercise of maintaining its assets. “Maintenance of the tracks, which was due for decades, is causing train delays. But the passengers of the country are well aware why the trains are getting delayed and they know that Indian Railways is getting future ready,” the Railway Minister said while replying to a question on the trains getting delayed. Hitting out at the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, Goyal said, “Former Prime Minister ATal Bihari Vajpayee announced Rail Safety Fund in 2003-04. But that was not considered for 10 years due to which we got unsafe railways as asset.” He also said that the trains in the last two decades have doubleed while the maintenance of the tracks was delayed. In 2017-18 about 5,000 km of tracks were renewed.

On safety, he said the number of accidents came down from 118 in 2013-14 to 73 in 2017-18, a reduction of 62 per cent. Replying to questions, Goyal said that there was no plan to “privatise” the railways. “There was no such plan of privatising railways. And in future also railways would not be privatised,” he said. Goyal also launched two mobile apps — ‘Rail Madad’ and ‘Menu on Rails’ for the passengers. He said that ‘Rail Madad’ (Mobile Application for Desired Assistance During Travel) has been launched for the passengers to register their complaints while travelling.

Meanwhile, the ‘Meal on Rails’ app is meant for the passengers to order food while travelling. The Railway Minister asserted that in the next six-seven years the railways want to double its income so that it is “self-sufficient and self-reliant”. He said that the railways have provided free WiFi services at over 675 stations across the country and it plans to extend this service to over 6,000 more stations. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita