Indian Railways under Modi electrified four kilometres in 2017-18

A bunch of RTI replies show how the Indian Railways have been run down during the Modi years despite the hype and the hoopla over the Bullet Train, Telgo coaches and high-speed trains

(File photo) Photo courtesy: social media
(File photo) Photo courtesy: social media

NH Web Desk

All of four kilometres of track were electrified in 2017-18. The number of trains cancelled went up steeply from 3,591 in 2014-15 to 21,053 in 2017-18. As many as 30% of the trains were running late and none of the 13 Railway Stations identified in 2014-15 for development under PPP seem to have been handed over to private parties.

These are some of the findings reported by Deccan Herald on Friday. The report based on a series of RTI replies furnished by the Railways calls the bluff on claims made by the Government, which had done away with the tradition of a separate Railway Budget in its very first year.

The DH report can be read here:

The Modi Government has been painting a rosy picture of the Indian Railways and highlighting improvements made in a short time. While collapse of foot overbridges in Mumbai stations, a few major accidents etc. were brushed aside by pointing out that the number of train accidents had gone down from 135 in 2014-15 to 73 in 2017-18, the RTI replies suggest that the reasons had more to do with 600% rise in the number of trains cancelled in four years since 2014-15.

IF RTI replies are to be believed, the number of train passengers appear to be going down. This may have something to do with the rise in Railway fare, growing joblessness or with cancelled trains. But the Railways concede that while 831 Crore passengers were carried by the Railways in 2013-14, the number declined to 816 Crore in 2016-17.

Some of the information revealed by RTI replies reported by Deccan Herald are the following:

  • The Modi Government exceeded the UPA’s record in track renewal only in the year 2017-18.
  • Length of new lines laid declined from 953 Kms in 2016-17 to 409 Kms in 2017-18
  • Only four kilometres of Railway tracks were electrified in 2017-18.
  • While the Government made a song and dance of signing two MoUs and one MoC (Memorandum of Cooperation) with France, China and Russia, there is nothing visible on the ground.
  • As many as 13 Railway Stations including Charbagh, Habibganj, Jammu Tawi and Surat, the Government announced in 2015, were being handed over for redevelopment ‘like airports’ to private contractors. Nothing has been heard since then on the projects.
  • In 2015 the Government announced that the Indian Railways would receive funds worth ₹1.5 lakh Crore from the Life Insurance Corporation. Since then the Railways have acknowledged receiving ₹2000 Crore from LIC as the first instalment and thereafter securing LIC as Guarantor for ₹5000 Crore more. Beyond that, there is no information on funding received by the Railways.

Not a very impressive record, it would seem, by any stretch.

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