Railways’ big focus areas to be infra and passenger amenities : Ashwini Vaishnaw
NEW DELHI : The Indian Railways will focus on upgrading track infrastructure to decongest its network and inducting new trains during the next financial year, a top government official has said.
“The big focus next year will be infrastructure and passenger amenities for the Indian Railways,” Railways Minister Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw has told.
The budget unveiled Wednesday raised the capital expenditure allocation for the national transporter to ₹2.40 lakh crore for FY24, an increase of 50%, which will result in a boost for spending on doubling of railway lines, new tracks and rolling stock.
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“The allocation in the budget will help meet the aspirations of 800 crore passengers (annually),” Vaishnaw said, adding that major focus will be on green growth, tourism, and world class amenities.
He said the ministry is undertaking redevelopment of 1,275 railway stations under the Amrit Bharat Station scheme. This includes large stations such as New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Kanpur, and Mumbai, and medium sized ones such as Puri, Jodhpur, and Gandhinagar.
“The entire world is acknowledging that India is a bright spot in light of the prevailing global turmoil. The budget 2023-24 will make India the growth engine of the world,” Vaishnaw said. The budget will enable a transformative change for each section of society, he added.
To decongest its network, the railways is targeting to achieve 12 kilometres per day of track commissioning during 2022-23. The goal for FY24 is likely to be set at 16 km per day.
Commenting on the plan for production and procurement of indigenously developed Vande Bharat trains, the minister said, “This year, we will expand the production to three new facilities – Sonipat (Haryana), Raebareli (Uttar Pradesh), and Latur (Maharashtra)… With four factories (including ICF Chennai) simultaneously producing Vande Bharat trains, the output should be close to 2-3 new Vande Bharat trains every week, up from one a week presently.”
A Vande Metro, aimed at covering shorter distances between cities, is also being developed, he said. “The Vande Metro concept will be a very rapid world class shuttle like experience for the customers. The production and design will be completed this year, and ramp-up will happen next year.” added Railway Minister.
According to Railway Minister Shri Vaishnaw, fully indigenous hydrogen trains will also be designed and manufactured in India, with the roll-out of the first train expected by December 2023.