Jun 12, 2018

Piyush Goyal: Railways not being privatised

Says IRCTC public issue put on hold to arrive at correct valuation

Indian Railways is not being privatised, and will not be privatised, says Railways and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal.

Goyal’s statement comes in the backdrop of continuous concerns raised by employee unions on the railways being privatised, and a likely impact on existing employees.

The railways has been inviting private participation in certain “non-core operations”. It has also been inviting private participation in station development, rail infrastructure, making locomotives, running freight and providing food. The extent of private participation varies though.

Train delays 

At a press conference here to talk about the four-year achievements of the Narendra Modi-led government, Goyal reiterated that the Railways priority is safety. He said he will consider a suggestion – given by a journalist – to ensure passengers were cared for and provided water and food when a train was delayed.

The Railway Minister reiterated that the present government has undertaken working at a record pace – to maintain the existing infrastructure. Track maintenance and creating additional tracks require blocking the infrastructure – which contribute to the train delays.

He added that the government has an aim to provide lower cost and also improve services. On the increasing cost of diesel and its impact on the railways, Goyal said it is with this aim that the Railways is heading towards fast electrification.

Public issues 

Responding to a query on public offers of railway public sector units, Goyal said the RITES IPO is under way, as are that of Ircon International and Rail Vikas Nigam Limited. On IRFC, there are some tax issues to be taken care. On IRCTC, he said he has intervened and stopped the public offer, as the public sector united has huge database (sic) which can be “crossutilised”. “I have some knowledge of valuation given that I was an investment banker,” said Goyal.

Grievance redressal 

For helping railway passengers, Goyal also launched an app – railmadad.in (madad is the Hindi word for help)– available on Google playstore – for passengers to book their complaints. There are are 14 methods of booking complaints now, which include the complaint book in train, stations book with station masters, several numbers, social media like Twitter, Facebook, among others, and people can also send their written complaints to respective Divisional Railway Managers through “post”.

Source - Bl 

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