New Delhi, April 9: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has turned down Railway Minister Piyush Goyal’s ambitious plan to introduce a new signalling system, based on the European Train Control System (ETCS) -Level 2. During a meeting attended by Goyal and senior Railway Board members on March 26, Prime Minister Modi raised a question and ask the logic behind such expensive project that is untested for Indian conditions. The project would have cost nearly Rs 78,000 crore. PM Modi reportedly asked the Railways to carry out extensive trials in a section with heavy traffic density first, and take a call depending on its success.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Modi is also learnt to have turned down Railway Minister’s plan to convert Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus into one of the first museum-cum-railway stations in India. In November last year, Goyal had announced to convert the busy terminal into a “world-class museum”. However, PM Modi is understood to have remarked on the lack of railway artefacts that could be showcased in the proposed museum, which, the sources said, were not enough.
As per a report, Goyal also wanted the Railways to hire more ‘safai karmacharis‘ (sanitation workers) but he has been asked to make do with the existing staff, the sources informed PTI. Speaking to the news agency, sources said,”During the meeting, the ministry was asked to concentrate on projects that are implementable. These projects had objections from the Board, zones and even in certain cases the Finance Ministry.”
Earlier this year, Goyal had proposed the idea of building the most modern signalling system. He had said,”To make Indian railways safe, I am planning to build the most modern signalling system through the entire railways network in India which will mean over 1.18 lakh kms of railways on the line of European Train Control System (ETCS).”