Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways
The Indian Railways would invest Rs 75,000 crore on a signalling system project to be implemented across India, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said.
"We will bring the most modern technology of European Train Control System (ETCS) in India and it will be implemented across the country. It will ensure safe journey," he told reporters here.
He said the South Western Railway officials have prepared the pre-feasibility report for the long-pending Bengaluru suburban railway and come up with a Rs 12,000 crore investment plan.
Goyal said 68 km of the 160 km suburban railway network will be elevated. In addition, the Railways would invest Rs 5,000 crore for upgrading the stations and for bringing in the most modern locomotives rail coaches.
He said he had written to the Karnataka chief minister in January that instead of 80-20 ratio of cost sharing between Karnataka government and Railways, where Karnataka's share would be 80 per cent, he has proposed a 50-50 cost sharing.
"We can do a cost sharing of 50-50 between the state government and the Indian railways and against that, they (state governmen) can allow us to increase the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) or Floor Space Index (FSI) of all our stations to five, so that we can raise some revenue by developing the stations, making them modern and passenger friendly."
Replying to a query on the delay in trains, the minister said the delay in track renewal work was earlier hampering the speed of trains.
He said when the track is damaged and not replaced, safety is compromised and speed restriction is imposed slowing down the train.
Earlier 233 km of tracks were renewed every month but in December 2017, railways did 476 km of track renewal, he said.
"In January, 2018, railways did 576 km of track renewal and in February we did 560 km ... That is the scale-up to make the Indian Railways safer. With this, all the speed restriction will go away and we will have faster trains," Goyal said.
When asked about the Railways' stand on the controversial Thalessery-Mysuru railway line, he said, "I am given to understand that there is lot of opposition to this line because it passes through very, very eco-sensitive wildlife areas and environment can be damaged."
"In that situation, if it is not in the interest of Karnataka, we will certainly not like to damage eco-sensitive zone or the wildlife area. In that case, Indian Railways has no particular interest that this project has to be pursued."
The Union minister also inaugurated an all women railway station at Banaswadi in Bengaluru, the fifth one in the country.
He also launched a mechanized laundry with a capacity to wash 10,000 bed rolls everyday.
Goyal also released a booklet 'New Railways, New Karnataka' which showcases the work done by the South Western Railway since 2014.
The booklet has a saffron-colour map of Karnataka on its cover.