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Modi bats for pvt funds, but says no privatisation

Marking Good Governance Day, Modi gave a rousing speech in Varanasi and recalled his childhood days when he sold tea near a railway station, saying, “I have an association with railways that is older than what most of railway employees can claim to have. There is a misunderstanding that railways is being privatised. However, I want to make it clear that we are not privatising railways. We cannot go in this direction. You don’t have to worry. It is neither our wish nor thinking.” He asked the unions not to pay heed to “rumours” in this regard.

He clarified that he planned to utilise the enormous capital available with business establishments within the country as well as abroad for improving the infrastructure. “We need to understand and appreciate the potential of the railways’ huge infrastructure which, if utilised properly, can transform the country’s economy,” he said. He was speaking at the Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW), on the outskirts of the city, where he inaugurated a project for expansion of the workshop and also dedicated to the nation a 4,500 horse-power air-conditioned passenger train engine.

“We can take the example of a village where there is a railway station through which very few trains pass. Now the existence of the station would naturally result in good electricity supply. If we construct a few rooms in the vicinity, we can use these for setting up skill development centres which can work wonders for the unemployed youths in the village and nearby areas,” Modi said.

The PM allayed fears over introducing private and foreign investment for improving railway infrastructure and said,  “Please have no fear. If a foreign company contributes in improving the condition of our railway stations and in the bargain erects a skyscraper in the vicinity, the country will be the ultimate gainer. I have decided to use the funds under the MPLAD scheme for the laying down more benches at the stations in Varanasi,” Modi added.

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