The government is focusing on improving the infrastructure of Indian Railways to make it more profitable, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said here on Saturday. “Indian Railways was in a vicious circle. We want to change it. We have been focusing on bringing investments and improving the financial health of the Indian Railways with an efficient service provider,” Prabhu said here, while dedicating a slew of projects. He said the railways prepared an investment plan of more than Rs 8 lakh crore and it finalised Rs 3.75 lakh crore of capital expenditure to ramp up the infrastructure.
“Around 16 per cent network (of railways) used to handle more than 60 per cent traffic while the rest of the network handles 40 per cent traffic. Capacity utilisation becomes 150-160 per cent. That is why we have decided to invest where it is required the most,” he said, adding the work for doubling or tripling of railway lines of 16,500 km has been approved in the last three years. The minister said 42 per cent of railway lines are electrified. “We have decided to double it in the next five years.” He said the speed of implementation of projects has increased more than two times.
Emphasising on improving railway tracks and rolling stocks, Prabhu said Indian Railways will be retrofitting 40,000 coaches. Under Eastern Railway, Prabhu on Saturday dedicated projects like double line between Beldanga and Cossimbazar in Sealdah division, third line between Gadadharpur and Tarapith Road Stations in Howrah division, foot over bridges, 2X50 KWp solar plant at Howrah area, provision of LED lights at 175 stations and others. Under South Eastern Railway, he has dedicated a number projects at Keshabpur-Mahishadal section and Santragachi-Amta suburban line.
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Prabhu also inaugurated commencement of work for an underground station at Esplanade under Kolkata East-West Metro and new escalator at Rabindra Sarobar station under Kolkata Metro Railway.
He said budgetary allocation to West Bengal has been increased to Rs 6,336 crore in 2017-18 from Rs 1,604 crore in 2013-14.