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PM to flag off privatisation of 10-12 rly stations

“Railway facilities are the same as they were 100 years back... Privatise the railway stations and modernise them,” he said, after flagging off the first train linking Meghalaya.

“I will make it in 10-12 places. Stations should be better than airports as most travelers are poor people. We can easily have trains running below and commercial properties above (floor),” Modi reasoned. At a time when real estate is very expensive, railways should leverage its properties by allowing private parties to build luxury hotels, restaurants and other facilities, he added.

He said once this exercise is completed in these places, the government will carry out modernization of stations across the country. Modi on Saturday inaugurated the Mendipathar-Guwahati passenger train and laid the foundation stone of broad gauge conversion of Bhairabi-Sairang line in Mizoram.

Modi said the Indian Railways have the potential to become the backbone of the country’s economic activity. “We will not be happy in just adding one coach or upgrading one station. We want both horizontal and vertical development of the railways. It can become the engine of Indian economy,” he added.

The government has already allowed 100 per cent foreign direct investment to completely modernize the railway transportation in the country, he said. Modi said the government has decided to open four railway universities in the four corners of the country where all aspects of railway service will be taught.

He said railway can be a mode of eco-friendly mass transportation, which will be India’s contribution to contain global warming.

Talking about connectivity to northeast, Modi said: “Infrastructure is the most important factor to develop northeast. If we want to develop India, we have to develop northeast.”
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