No privatisation of Rlys: Goyal assures Opposition
New Delhi: Rejecting the opposition's allegation that the government is working to privatise the national transporter, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal Friday asserted there is "no question" of privatisation, but said the ministry will invite investments for new technology, lines and projects in the national interest.
Replying in the Lok Sabha to the discussion on Demands for Grants of the railways, Goyal reeled out figures to claim that the Narendra Modi government has performed much better in boosting both infrastructure and safety parameters of the national transporter as compared to the UPA era.
During his hour-long speech, there were frequent protests by Congress members, as their leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury accused him of misleading the House and he was backed by his party colleagues.
Goyal also defended the decision to discontinue tabling of a separate railway budget in Parliament, calling them "political budgets" which were used to sell dreams of new trains and railway lines to people for winning elections.
With several opposition leaders accusing the government of ushering in the privatisation of the railways, Goyal noted that he had time and again rejected the claims and would reiterate again that there was no question of privatisation.
"There is no question of privatisation of the railways. The railways cannot be privatised. However, if we have to increase the facilities in railways then obviously we need investments for it. We have taken a decision to encourage public-private partnerships and we will also corporatise some units.
"We should invite investment in the national interest if someone is ready to get new technology, new stations, projects and lines," the minister told the House.
Goyal said that the Modi government had inherited a dilapidated railway, but had managed to turn it around in the past five years by laying new tracks, improving security and facilities for passengers.
He said track kilometre grew by 39,000 km in 64 years, while in the past five years it grew by 7,000 km.