Piyush Goyal stresses on railway safety, track renewal

Piyush Goyal stresses on railway safety, track renewal”

Currently, India's manufacturing capability of electrical locomotives is only 200 a year by the Railways.

With the kind of technology, talent and innovation which are now available in the country, India will leapfrog the learning stages the developed countries have to go through towards realising their digital goals, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said here on Thursday.

Piyush Goyal's comments came after GE said this week that the Indian government's "Make in India" initiative would be undermined if the railway ministry went ahead with plans to only use electric engines. "Can we look at opportunities where we can meet the objectives of reducing pollution, saving cost and make sure the contracts and agreements that are made by the Railways continue to serve the people of India", Goyal said. "In future, if we want to convert diesel to electric plant, it is not rocket science", added Manoj Sinha, minister of state for railways, was quoted by Reuters as saying. It has created around 1,000 jobs at the plant and a maintenance shed, and 5,000 jobs in the supplier network.

As the world evolves past petrol and diesel based forms of transportation moving more towards electric powered vehicles, even the Indian Railways is considering moving towards electric locomotives, raising concerns for American conglomerate General Electric which had a contract to provide 1,000 diesel locomotives to India. Another plant at Madhepura, for modern electric locomotives, was awarded to French major Alstom. However, when Goyal replaced Prabhu, he hinted change in policy.

According to the Ministry, the Railways spend about Rs 16,000 crore a year on diesel alone, which can be saved by phasing out of diesel locomotives.

Elaborating on the electrification project, Goyal said it has picked pace over last three years and the railways intend to cover 4,000 kms next year.

This diesel locomotive factory was first conceptualised by former Railways minister Lalu Prasad Yadav during the UPA I government.

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