The Railways will "very soon" float a global tender to procure
tracks for modernising its network, which can create a million jobs within a
year through various areas across its ecosystem, Union Minister Piyush Goyal
said on Thursday.
He further said that safety will be priority for the railways and there
would be no limit to funding it.
The comments of the new railways minister come after a spate of rail
accidents in the last few months leading to loss of lives.
I have diverted all available tracks to track renewal so that we can make
the existing tracks safer. We are looking to go in for global procurement of
rail tracks...this will help fast track the doubling of lines and new
projects," he told reporters at the India Economic Summit of the World
Economic Forum (WEF).
Asked by when the global tender for tracks modernisation would be floated,
Goyal said "very soon, it's under process". "There is no limit
to safety expenditure. Safety will be the priority of Indian railways. I have
also categorised pedestrian foot-over bridges, platforms, entry and exit points
as safety items.
I have turned around 100 year old tradition which used to consider all of
this as amenities," he said.
He further said that monetising the real estate assets as well as fast
tracking some of the existing investment plans would generate a lot of
employment opportunities in the railways and the ecosystem around it.
"My own sense is, may not be directly jobs in railways, but certainly
through engaging people and working in variety of areas across the ecosystem,
not less than a million jobs can be created in less than 12 months -- only
railways and ecosystem around the railways," Goyal said.
The government's moving aggressively on the rail track and safety
maintenance programme alone would create 2 lakh jobs, he added. Besides,
leveraging the amount of railway real estate by monetising those assets will
help to generate resources without burdening passengers.