Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu today urged the states to join hands with the Railways to develop and re-developing stations across the country and said his ministry will have a dialogue with West Bengal government for JV for joint infrastructure development.
“We want to have joint venture with the states. I am requesting the state governments to join hands with the Railways in developing and re-developing the stations,” Prabhu said here during a programme at Howrah station.
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Already 16 states have agreed to join hands with Railways and already some have already inked JVs, he said.
Railways had undertaken re-development of 400 railway stations across India, he said at an interactive session at the MCC Chamber of Commerce here.
Stating that West Bengal occupies a “strategic position” in the country, Prabhu said the ministry would help with its resources for the development of the state.
“Earlier, West Bengal was the centre of happening but that is lost. On infrastructure front Railways is doing a lot to revive it,” he said.
The minister said transportation sector will bring the next wave of investment after telecom and power.
Prabhu said his department is working towards making Railways a financially viable organisation and it is moving towards providing greater passenger facilities, including speedy travel besides freight movement.
“Railways is also working on speed enhancement in existing trains and new high speed infrastructure,” he said.
Railways had undertaken trial of Talgo trains for semi speed trains that will increase speed to 200 km against average of 130 km per hour.
He said Railways is working to have a freight handling capacity of 1.5 to 2 billion tonne.
Prabhu said Railways would work towards improving customer service and development of infrastructure.
“Revamping will take a long time though we are working on all aspects. We are focusing on the customer service… customer satisfaction is very very important. We have taken over 100 initiatives in the last 18 months. Though many are saying that things have improved a lot I am not happy because we have to go a long long way,” he said.
Prabhu also met Chief minister Mamata Banerjee at the state secretariat and discussed Railways infrastructure in the state.
“I had a detailed comprehensive discussion with the chief minister. She herself was a very successful railway minister. The state government has extended all cooperation. The idea is how to redevelop the existing infrastructure and increase it in the state. We have already increased the share of investment in the state,” he said.
“The idea is to create an integrated transport system for Kolkata,” he said.
The chief minister, who held a joint press conference with Prabhu, requested him to send a central team to expedite the on going railway projects in the state and said the state government will extend all help for the railway projects.
The Railways minister inaugurated several projects for Eastern Railway, South Eastern Railway and the Metro Railway during his visit here.
He congratulated the Eastern Railway for becoming the first in the country to remove all unmanned level crossings in its zone.