New Delhi: Staying firm on the theme of speed, railway minister Suresh Prabhu said that the ministry will import train sets that can clock speeds upto 200 kmph, and run on nine identified semi-high speed corridors, with the Delhi-Agra one set to become operational next month.
These train sets will later be built in the country, said Mr Prabhu, adding that inter-metro journeys like Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata could soon be completed overnight.
Unveiling a major reform, Mr Prabhu proposed to set up an independent regulator, that will be tasked to look into passenger and freight fares, costing of projects and dispute resolution in public-private-partnership projects.
Acknowledging an urgent need to improve passenger facilities, Mr Suresh Prabhu unveiled a slew of steps for better cleanliness (Swachh Rail, Swachh Bharat), facilities for women and senior citizens, expansion of wi-fi in B-category stations, bio and vacuum toilets in trains, SMS alerts for train arrivals and departures.
He also proposed to install CCTV surveillance cameras in ladies’ coaches without compromising the issue of privacy. Mr Prabhu also unveiled the initiative to form joint ventures with state governments to take up and execute projects on a cost-sharing basis.
Similar joint ventures will be formed with PSUs too in the coal, cement and power sector to execute projects related to their needs. The stock market was, however, disappointed by the Rail Budget, as it tanked sharply during the day....