New Delhi: The union railway minister, Piyush Goyal, Friday said that new railway lines and projects will be offered to private investors.

The minister while assuring that there is “No question of privatization of railways”, he said, “ The ministry will invite investments for new lines and projects in the national interest.”

Goyal, while replying to the demands on railways, said there has been a 59% increase in commissioning of new lines, doubling tripling and quadrupling of railway lines between 2014 and 2019. Electrification during 2009-14 was 3,038 Rkms and during 2014-19 it was 13,687 Rkms.  

On non-introduction of new trains and stoppages, he said that there was over utilization of capacity as in 64 years freight loading has increased by 1300% and Passenger KMs increased by 1642%.

Taking a dig at UPA government he said even though Raebareli Modern Coach Factory was built in 2012, not a single coach was manufactured till 2014. In 18-19 production increased to 1,425 coaches. There is a plan to increase the production capacity of Raebareli Modern Coach Factory  to 5000 coaches from the present 1000 making it the biggest in the world. Goyal said after announcing Dedicated Freight Corridor, only Rs 9,000 crores were spent during 2007-14 and not even 1 km track were laid. After 2014, DFC project was speeded up and Rs 39,000 crores spent to complete track linking of 1,900 kms.

Referring to the finance minister’s announcement that Rs 50 lakh crore investment will be done in Railways, the minister said, “We’ll spend 6 lakh crore in new projects for laying new lines in high density networks where there are high capacity constraints. More DFCs will be taken up with Rs 4.5 lakh crore, Golden Quadrilateral will be laid with Rs 1.5 lakh crore.

Dwelling on railway safety measures, the railway minister said, “During NDA tenure average number of accidents per year was brought down to 95.6 from 206 during 2004-09 and 153 during 2009-14 . Lives lost in train accidents on average per year was around 300 in 2009-11. It came down to 50 . Consequential train accidents reduced from 118 in 2013-14 to 59 in 2018-19.

Goyal said the target for fitting bio-toilets in all the trains was 2020-21. Till now we have fitted 2,10,000 bio-toilets.In the next 12 months,  all the trains will be fitted with bio-toilets, he asserted.