January 2016 News

Railways To Have Separate Plan For J&K Soon: Prabhu

2 January 2016
The Daily Excelsior

Jammu: Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu today said trains with open roof tops and satellite terminal will soon be introduced in Jammu and Kashmir. He said a separate plan will be prepared for Railways in the State to properly augment new rails and undertake work on other projects like Jammu-Rajouri-Poonch and Billawar-Bani-Bhaderwah rail lines. 'Special tourist trains with open roof tops would be introduced shortly in the region so that the tourist related activities get a boost,' Prabhu said in his address after inaugurating the Multiplex Complex and laying the foundation of Executive Lounge, Escalators and Lifts and Mechanised Laundry at Jammu Tawi Railway Station here this morning. In a brief chat with media, Prabhu said all possible measures would be taken to maintain security along railway track following terror attack at Pathankot so that passengers travel without any fear to Jammu and Kashmir. He said the matter will be taken up with Home Minister Rajnath Singh for further boosting security along the railway track. The Union Minister said Indian Railways is also taking steps to connect Jammu and Kashmir State with rest of the country through railway line starting from the northern district of Baramulla and in this regard the project which was left in limbo has been fast paced by holding regular periodical meetings about its implementation besides providing the requisite funds for it. 'In order to ensure that the handicraft sector which is one of the main pillars of the State's economy gets the requisite boost, the Railways will be contributing its bit by ensuring that it is promoted and propagated through e-retailing so that its market grows across the nation and it would in turn boost the economy of this part of country,' he said. Prabhu added that a new satellite terminal would also be undertaken at Jammu to decongest the existing railway station in Jammu, adding, 'new and special trains would be run in the Jammu sector which would cater to the huge rush of pilgrims coming from different parts of the country to pay their obeisance at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi and other holy places in the State'. He, however, said that Jammu and Kashmir is always close to heart and in the coming time, there are special projects with context to railways for this hilly region. The Minister said that the Government is moving forward on the economic agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and railways has pivotal role in realizing this and major reforms are underway in railway sector, which would contribute in boosting the economic activities, besides also help in increasing the connectivity of the people. Prabhu said the Railways have entered into agreement with 16 countries to boost security of the trains to avert the mishaps and provide safe travel to the people across the country. Prabhu said Railways will start a new train between Jammu and Haridwar by March this year. He said steps are being taken to increase rail connectivity of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the country. 'Jammu and Kashmir is a very important State, a State close to our heart. It is our duty to connect the Valley with Delhi and the hearts of the country. 'We are making plans to further connect J&K through railways,' he said. He said that an integrated plan would soon be made which would be submitted to the Finance Minister for provision of funds. On the demand of railway over bridges, the Minister said that while in other States 50 per cent of the financial burden for construction of such bridges is borne by the State Governments, in Jammu and Kashmir the Railways Ministry would fully fund them. He said that a train connecting Jammu to Haridwar would be started before Shivratri this year. He said that 'a special train for Kashmir valley would also be started soon. He said Modi Government is committed for the overall growth of the railways to provide better facilities so that people enjoy their railway trip.' Prabhu voiced confidence that Railways would help push India's GDP by 2.5 per cent in the coming years, asserting that Narendra Modi Government was especially focusing on research and development works so that the transporter acts as a growth engine. Earlier, little effort was made in the field of research and development in the railways. However, the NDA Government has signed agreements with 14 countries including Japan and Korea to undertake research and development works, the Minister said. 'In the coming years the railway will contribute 2.5 per cent to the GDP growth in the country,' Prabhu said. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley helped to revive the economy of the country. 'One-and-a-half years ago the economic situation of the country was in a mess and the world had lost faith and was not ready to invest in the country. 'Economy was in shambles, inflation was high, growth was down, but after Narendra Modi took over, he brought the country out of the economic mess,' he said. 'The world is now looking forward to invest in our country. We need investment from other countries to not only build infrastructure but also to help eradicate poverty. Foreign investment in China helped eradicate its poverty,' he said. He said that the growth of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has surpassed the growth of China. 'After Narendra Modi took over as Prime Minister, India has surpassed the growth of China. In our country, foreign direct investment (FDI) has increased as compared to China,' Prabhu said. The Minister said that the country needs to invest in infrastructure for a higher growth rate. 'If we need infrastructure we need to invest in railways as the PM has rightly said that railway is an engine of growth,' he said, adding Modi 'was the first Prime Minister in the country who had a vision for the development of the railways'. The Railway Minister said that in his first budget, Rs 8.5 lakh crore were earmarked to be invested in the railways in the next five years. 'We have fulfilled 110 points that we had mentioned in the railway budget and the work is on to fulfill the others', he said. He said that e-catering was introduced to improve the quality of food being served onboard the trains. The Indian Government has signed an MoU with Japan so as to improve the safety standards of the Indian Railway. 'We have signed the MoU with Japan to make our safety standards on a par with theirs,' he said. Addressing, Union Minister of State in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh said tendering has been done for survey on Rs 15,000 cr Delhi-Katra Expressway. He said the focus now would be for its early completion. Dr Singh said alignment of the Expressway should be worked out alongwith rail track for availing wayside facilities. He said Rail Coach Factory was long pending demand of the people of Jammu including Ram Sahai and added that Prabhu has now agreed for Railway Coach Repair Factory for Jammu. Dr Jitendra called for upgradation of Udhampur Railway Station and construction of new Railway Station for Kathua, close to the City, the demands to which Prabhu agreed. Dr Singh said MPs and MLAs can also utilised their CDF for railway station through the Railway Ministry. He had utilized Rs 40 lakh for construction of benches at Railway Stations of Udhampur, Kathua and Ramnagar. Dr. Singh said that the railway has a tremendous potential in accelerating the economic activities of the State. He said that the people of the State have been demanding for constructing Railway Stations at Kathua besides having full-fledged railway division at Jammu for undertaking the repair and other related things, this he said would a long way in also providing the much needed employment opportunities to the people of the State. Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh, while speaking on the occasion, appreciated the recent initiatives of the Centre for ensuring speedy development of the State. He said that the Centre has been quite liberal in extending support to the State by way of several schemes in different sectors. Dr. Singh said that the Prime Minister's package is historic initiative undertaken by the Centre for ensuring all round development of the State so that it becomes one of the model States in the Country. He said that the railways has an important role in integrating the valley and the State with the rest of the country and therefore the thrust should be on fast pacing the work on various other railway routes of the State which would also boost the tourism related activities of the State. Dr. Singh also called for opening a new railway terminal which should be having all the modern facilities. He also called for undertaking simultaneous work on the railway track on the express corridor being constructed from Delhi to Katra. The Railway Minister and Deputy Chief Minister later, reviewed the pace of work on the RAPDRP project being implemented in the State by IRCON, a sister organization of the Indian Railways. The meeting was attended by Commissioner Secretary PDD, Chief Engineers, senior officers of the IRCON and State Administration. Suresh Prabhu directed the officers of IRCON to ensure that the project is completed within the stipulated time frame as already convened to the State Government and asked for strict compliance to the same. He said that they should be holding regular meetings with the officers of the State for removing bottlenecks if any for its timely completion.