BJP manifesto for Indian Railways: Today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the manifesto of the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) for the upcoming Lok Sabha 2019 elections. Considering the fact that Indian Railways is the lifeline of the country, the BJP Manifesto has promised several things on the railway front. In their manifesto ‘Sankalpit Bharat Sashakt Bharat’, BJP stated that steps were taken by the Narendra Modi government for safe, smooth, clean and satisfying rail journey and great results were achieved by these initiatives. Further to this, BJP Manifesto claimed that the pace of work in this regard will continue as well as private participation in the development of railway infrastructure, amenities and provision of service will be encouraged. From faster trains to dedicated freight corridor and better passenger amenities, here are the announcements for Indian Railways in the BJP Manifesto for Lok Sabha polls 2019:
1) India’s first engine-less semi high-speed train- Vande Bharat Express, manufactured under ‘Make in India’ was launched in February 2019. Also, work is currently going on for the country’s first ever bullet train project, which will run between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. Now, the BJP Manifesto says the government aims to expand rail connectivity and thereby, launch various high-speed trains and new version trains such as Vande Bharat Express across the country in the next five years.
2) The BJP Manifesto promises to convert all viable railway tracks to broad gauge by 2022. The plan to convert all metre gauge tracks in the country into broad gauge phase-wise was announced by the Narendra Modi government in 2017. The track conversion work is being carried out by the government in order to enhance passengers convenience as well as the commercial viability of Indian Railways.
3) Efforts will be made to ensure electrification of all railway tracks by the year 2022. With the electrification of tracks, the Railway Ministry aims to reduce diesel consumption by about 2.8 billion litres. The step will also reduce the energy bill by around Rs 13,000 crore per annum by the financial year 2022. Moreover, in line with its aim for all-electric railway tracks, the production of diesel locomotives has already been stopped and the old diesel locomotives are being converted into electric ones.
4) The BJP Manifesto also states that the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project will be completed by 2022. The project, worth Rs 81,459 crore includes Western DFC and Eastern DFC. As per project details, the Western DFC covers a distance of 1,504 km linking Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust near Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra to Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, passing through Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Palanpur, Phulera, Rewari. The Eastern DFC covers 1,856 km in total connecting Ludhiana, Punjab to Dankuni near Kolkata, West Bengal, passing through Haryana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand.
5) A massive programme will be launched for modernization of railway stations across the country. Piyush Goyal-led Railway Ministry, over the last few months, has upgraded and modernized several railway stations by providing passenger-friendly amenities and facilities. Some of the recently renovated railway stations include New Delhi railway station, Haridwar Junction, Lonavala station, Jaipur Junction, Mathura Junction etc.
6) All main railway stations will be equipped with WiFi facility by 2022. So far, the CPSU- RailTel under the Railway Ministry has already provided free high-speed Wifi through RailWire to as many as 1500 railway stations. The CPSU has also recently created a record by providing WiFi facility to 500 stations in a span of seven days. RailTel and Tata Trust have joined hands for providing free WiFi at 4,791 B, C, D and E category stations across India.