SYNOPSIS OF DEBATES
(Proceedings other than Questions & Answers)
Wednesday, December 20, 2000/Agrahayana 29, 1922 (Saka)
MR. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I have to inform the House of the sad demise of one of our former colleagues, Shri Sachindralal Singh. Shri Sachindralal Singh was member of the Sixth Lok Sabha from l977 to l979 representing the Tripura West Parliamentary Constituency. An able administrator Shri Singh was the first Chief Minister of Tripura. He had also b een the chairman of the Tripura Territorial Council besides various other organisations. An active parliamentarian, he was also a member of the Committee on subordinate Legislation from l977 to l979. A well-known social worker, Shri Singh organised the Tripura Rajya Gana Parishad. He worked relentlessly for the upliftment of the peasants and the downtrodden. He also worked for famine relief in tribal areas in Tripura. He did a pioneering work in the development of Tripura and strove for the development of Railways in his home State. An uncompromosing ftreedom fighter, Shri Singh agitated against the autocratic monarchy rule in Tripura. He was connected with the Chittagong Armoury raiders. He was imprisoned for more than l4 year. Shri Sachidndralal Singh passed away on 8 December, 2000 at New Delhi at the age of 93.
We deeply mourn the loss of this friend and I am sure the House will join me in conveying our condolences to the bereaved family.
The Members then stood in silence for a short while
STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER
Re: Peace-initiatives in Jammu and Kashmir
THE PRIME MINISTER (SHRI ATAL BIHARI VAJPAYEE): Before the Winter Session of the Parliament concludes and the House rises for the festivals of Id and Christmas, I wish to take this opportunity and share with all the hon. Members, the Governments assessment of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, also along the Line of Control.
Following my announcement of 19 November that during the holy month of Ramzan, our security forces would not initiate operations against the militants, also expressing a hope that along the LoC too, infiltration would cease, there have been some encouraging developments. Certain other aspects, however, remain as our continuing concerns.
The Government is greatly heartened by the response of the citizens, political parties and other organisations in the State of Jammu and kashmir. Our peace initiative has been widely welcomed there. A distinctly different and a more optimistic mood now prevails in that State. The constituency for peace has expanded significantly.
There has also been a decline in incidents of terrorist violence in that State. Activities, however, of organisations like Lashkar-e-Tayaaba and HarH Harkat-ul-Mujahedin continue, resulting in most unfortunate and regrettable loss of innocent civilian lives, also of the personnel of our security forces. The Government remains firm in its resolve to combating these and other challenges, also to defeating their inhuman and nefarious designs.
There has been a recognisable decline too in attempts at cross-LoC and cross-IB infiltration of terrorists. This must cease entirely. The Government is committed to achieving this end.
Along the LoC, we have witnessed a marked improvement in incidents of exchange of fire. Relative peace has prevailed all along the LoC ever since my announcement of 19 November, barring some incidents in the early stages.
After careful consideration of all aspects, the Government has, therefore, taken a decision to extend the period of no initiation of combat operations by another month. After the Republic Day, 2001, the Government will review the position again.
As the initiator of the dialogue process with Pakistan, India remains committed to it. The existence of a suitable environment for such a process is self-evidently necessary. As part of our continued commitment to the Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration, the Government will initiate such exploratory steps as are considered necessary by it, so that the Composite Dialogue Process between the Governments of India and Pakistan could be resumed.
Let me inform the House that the Governments unwavering commitment to meeting the challenge of terrorism remains undiluted. Whereas we will continue to exercise maximum restraint in face of grave provocations, national interests will never be compromised.
I wish to assure the hon. Members that we remain steadfast in our commitment to restoring lasting peace and to enabling all our citizens from Jammu and Kashmir to join as equal partners in Indias march to prosperity.
RE: INCORPORATION OF A COLUMN REGARDING OBCs IN THE CENSUS
THE MINISTER OF PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS AND MINISTER OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (SHRI PRAMOD MAHAJAN) responding to the points raised by several Members, said: The recommendations of Mandal Commission was accepted unanimously in this House. On the issue of extending reservation to the people of backward classes was also accepted unanimously by the Members of this House. Today, the issue of conducting separate census for OBCs has been raised by Shri Sharad Pawar and other Members have also associated themselves with this issue. Cutting across the party line, all the Members have unanimously demanded to conduct a separate census for OBCs so that we may be able to understand their condition and their population.
Census on the basis of caste was discontinued in 1931 itself i.e. even before the Government of India came into existence. After that whichever Government came into power and particularly the Government which implemented the recommendations of Mandal Commission, no census was conducted on the basis of castes. I, therefore, feel that this issue should not be politicised. On behalf of the Government I can only say that the census is going to start from 9th February. Probably forms might have also been prepared. I do not know the exact position and the administrative problems likely to occur therein. For the last 50 years, as per the policy being adopted, census is not being conducted on the basis of castes. Though there is no policy to conduct census on the basis of castes, yet the Government would like to review the policy in this regard keeping in mind the demands raised by several Members of this House.
MATTERS UNDER RULE 377
(i) SHRI DILIPKUMAR MANSUKHLAL GANDHI laid a statement on a matter regarding need to allot 10,000 houses per year to the people living below poverty line in Ahmednagar in Gujarat under India Avas Yojana
(ii) SHRI MANSUKHBHAI D. VASAVA laid a statement on a matter regarding need to provide employment to the people whose land has been acquired for setting up industries in ST dominated areas of Bharuch Parliamentary constituency in Gujarat.
(iii) SHRI RAM SINGH KASWAN laid a statement on a matter regarding need to take steps for implementation of Yamuna Water Agreement to solve the drinking water problem in Churu district of Rajasthan.
(iv) DR. M.P. JAISWAL laid a statement on a matter regarding need for early construction of Masan Dam Project to check floods in North Bihar.
(v) SHRI THAWAR CHAND GEHLOT laid a statement on a matter regarding need to allocate adequate funds for early start of work on Indore-Dahod-Godhara railway line of Western Railway.
(vi) SHRI RAMESH CHENNITHALA laid a statement on a matter regarding need to run Thiruvananthapuram Rajdhani Express train running between Nizamuddin and Thiruvananthapuram daily.
(vii) SHRI K.A. SANGTAM laid a statement on a matter regarding need to set up a modern science centre and a planetarium at Kohima in Nagaland.
(viii) SHRI KODIKUNNIL SURESH laid a statement on a matter regarding need to declare Teni-Trivandrum highway viz. Kottayam, Kottarakara in Kerala as national highway.
(ix) SHRI V.S. SIVAKUMAR laid a statement on a matter regarding need to set up Bench of High Court at Trivandrum, Kerala at the earliest.
(x) SHRI SUNIL KHAN laid a statement on a matter regarding need to revamp Durgapur unit of Hindustan Fertilizers Corporation Limited.
(xi) SHRI M.V.V.S. MURTHI laid a statement on a matter regarding need to develop Visakhapatnam airport as an International airport.
(xii) SHRI PRABHUNATH SINGH laid a statement on a matter regarding need to set up a Power Grid Station at Baniapur in Maharajganj Parliamentary Constituency in Bihar.
(xiii) SHRI T.T.V. DHINAKARAN laid a statement on a matter regarding need to ensure proper implementation of foreign aided afforestation scheme in various pockets of Tamil Nadu.
(xiv) SHRI BHARTRUHARI MAHTAB laid a statement on a matter regarding need to declare Jankinath Bhawan at Cuttack, the birth place of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, as a national monument.
(xv) SHRI THIRUNAVUKARASU laid a statement on a matter regarding need to set up small scale, agro and coir based industries in the Industrial Complex at Pudukkottai in Tamil Nadu.
DISCUSSION UNDER RULE 193
Re: Disinvestment of Public Sector Undertakings Contd.
SHRI M.V.V.S. MURTHI continuing, said: This is a very important subject because this is a nations wealth. Unless we make the people understand, there is every possibility that the nation, as a whole, is misunderstanding this Government. As a matter of fact, this became inevitable after liberalisation. All these things have been neglected over a period of time in these public sector undertakings. I do not know the present position. But when it is a commercial activity, it should be produced viably and it should be marketed properly.
In the past, every year the Government used to provide grants for the public sector undertaking to recoup their losses. Now the Government is not able to provide budgetary support. We should classify these public sector units in two sectors strategic sector and non-strategic sectors. The strategic sector could be owned 100 per cent by the Government. Governments business is to govern, not to run the sick industries. Unless corrective steps are taken, it should not end up with loss. We should all think alike in this matter. It is a question of the countrys prosperity. Disinvestment is not a crime. Way back in 1976, China made it an open economy. We could not do it. We have done it because there was a single party rule. But there must be some unified ideas in these matters. We can have some public sector units which are making profits or likely to make profits. The Government should make it a compact one and where they can make profit. The Government should able to take right decision at the right time so that the people will be benefited. Otherwise, these things will continue to be like this. There is an apprehension in many of the people here that the Government wanted to use this money to cover up its deficit finance. I do not agree with it. But that fear in the minds of the hon. Members should be dispelled by issuing a White Paper. Otherwise the people will mistake the Government. Now, the Government is recommending that small investors should have representation in the Board. This is a welcome sign. I would like to suggest to the hon. Minister of Industries, and the Minister of the State of the Department of Disinvestment, who are present here, that they should take a decision in the Cabinet. All Navaratnas have gone now. My heart burns to see the nations wealth being wasted like this. I urge upon the Minister to kindly take necessary steps and come before the House at least in the coming Budget Session with details as to how the Government intends to realise money on individual industries; and how and by what date the Government intends to reach the target of Rs.10,000 crore of disinvestment.
SHRI RAMJI LAL SUMAN : At present we have about 235 PSUs in the country out of which 106 PSUs are incurring losses and 127 PSUs are earning profits. I believe that 106 PSUs are incurring losses due to mismanagement and capital related issues. Before selling shares of a PSU we should find out whether we can rectify the shortcomings of that undertaking. I think that the Government has no interest to take such steps. It should take the country into confidence by releasing a White Paper or through any other method on the issue of sale of PSUs' shares. It should explain its basic policy in this regard. Another important question is that after sale of PSUs' shares what would be the priorities on spending the funds collected under disinvestment fund. How the Government propose to use it. I think Government of India has no policy regarding the utilization of such fund. I charge that Government have no clear view point regarding the manner in which the money collected from sale of PSUs' shares would be spent. It is unfortunate that not only movable assets but immovable assets are also being sold. Retrenchment in Public Enterprises and sale of PSUs' shares would increase unemployment. We have to take care of the interests of workers after the sale of PSUs' shares. It is unfortunate for India that most of the policies of the country are meant for only 5 to 10 per cent people. Attention is not paid towards the basic problems like farmers' problems, unemployment etc. I want that after sale of PSUs' shares this Government should pay attention to the bad condition of roads in rural areas of the country. I want to say that if the Government propose to set up a fund after sale of PSUs' shares then, unless it gives priority to the problem of unemployed people and also to the problems of poor people from villages, the situation is not going to change. We had the target of sale of 33 PSUs and we were to get Rs. 10,000 crore but we have received only Rs. 1500 crore. I do not understand the pace of progress and the intention of the Government in this regard. I charge that this Government is confused on this issue. This House should be informed about the policy of the Government regarding disinvestments and the irregularities being committed by it in the sale of PSUs shares. Government should release a White Paper and fix its priorities only then disinvestment would be meaningful, otherwise, the Government is only making an effort to keep this country as well as this House ignored on this issue.
SHRI RAJIV PRATAP RUDY : When we are discussing the issue of disinvestment it needs analysis regarding the condition of PSUs in India. Under manufacturing sector we have 236 PSUs. Among them 106 PSUs are incurring losses and 71 PSUs have been referred to BIFR. Capital investment of Rs. 2 lakh 74 thousand crores is invested in these undertakings. I believe that these figures need further analysis. This capital investment is giving us an income of Rs. 13 thousand crores only. We are getting return of only 4 per cent. Analysis of PSUs is essential and on the basis of this analysis we should rectify the mistakes we have committed. Excluding petroleum, coal, lignite and power sector, all other companies are incurring losses. Expenditure incurred on one PSU employee should be compared with the expenditure incurred on an employee in a company under private sector. Private Sector provides telephones and other facilities to its employees but its expenditure under this head is only four per cent whereas our PSUs spend 20 per cent. This analysis clearly indicates the pathetic condition of PSUs in the country. How long taxpayers of the country would bear the responsibility of providing money to the loss making PSUs and who will be responsible for this. Regarding the present unrest prevailing in Maruti Udyog they say that rights of workers have been violated there. Today, market share of Maruti has come down from 80 per cent to 40 per cent. At present only 1400 workers out of 4700 workers are working. When 4700 workers were working the production was 1200 vehicles per day. Whereas today, when 4000 workers are not working this production is 1400 vehicles. Average salary of a worker of Ford Motor is Rs. 10,912 whereas average salary of an employee of Maruti Udyog is Rs. 23,017. They are demanding Rs. 30,000 in the first year and Rs. 44,000 by the end of year 2004. There are 12 joint ventures of Maruti Udyog in Gurgaon. What would happen when workers of these factories would also demand same salary. If these pay scales are granted to the employees of Maruti Udyog then all industries in Haryana would close down because all employees there would demand the same pay scales. The way Congress has set up the system over the last 40 years in this country and our industries have developed a peculiar mentality, most of our industries are on the verge of closure. How disinvestment process which was right so far has become wrong for the Members sitting in the Opposition suddenly. We should analyse it. If somebody wants to invest here and spend thousands of crores of rupees and such persons can run industries efficiently by investing their money and they can give excellent management then we must give them such opportunity. I say that it is not the work of Government to run hotels or business rather Government's job is to govern and engage in administration. It should also take care of strategic and core areas of industries. We should have a look at the present condition of State Governments. Delhi Government wants disinvestment in Delhi Vidyut Board. Now, this step has become necessity because we can not indulge in cheating the people of this country any more. The Government should make sincere efforts to revive those industries which have such potential and whose market value can be established.
SHRI PURNO A. SANGMA : Several factors have contributed to the poor performance of public sector. They are: low technological upgradation, low productivity, poor management, excess manpower, low research and development and low human resource development. I have found that the top position in a public sector undertaking remains vacant most of the time. In the absence of a CEO in a public sector undertaking, the Ministry practically runs that PSU from Delhi. The officers of PSUs do not have enough time to attend to their work. They have no time either to apply their minds properly because they are so much subjected to the interference by the administrative Ministries. Another important point is poor industrial relations. Unfortunately, all the major trade union leaders have concentrated their activities in the public sector enterprises. On top of that, every political leader of all political parties tries to have a union in the public sector. Therefore, it is impossible for the management to deal with that kind of trade unionism. Another area where I am unhappy is the unnecessary vigilance and unnecessary inquiries against the public sector executives. The day I assumed office, Coal India was losing Rs. 2800 crore and in six months time, we landed up with Rs. 164 crore of profit. By 1991, the situation had become so difficult for the public sector that the then Government had to review the policy towards the public sector. A new policy statement was issued. Therefore, the policy of disinvestment was actually first introduced by the Congress Government. In 1996, the then UF Government, through its Common Minimum Programme, further carried on this policy and it is they who appointed the Disinvestment Commission. My plea to the Prime Minister would be not to change the Minister for Disinvestment too many times because it needs another four to five months time to understand it. Today, the Vajpayee Government may be stable with 25 political parties. But where is the governance? I think, we have not been able to really achieve a national consensus. The Vajpayee Government talks about disinvestment and the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch talks about socialism. The Disinvestment Commission has submitted its report. The establishment of a Disinvestment Fund is there. But the details regarding the scope and the purpose of the Fund are not available. I would like to conclude by giving humble suggestions from my side. Firstly, we need to take a comprehensive package in view of all general and specific recommendations of the Disinvestment Commission and have a transparent policy of disinvestment and its implementation. Secondly, cutting across political spectrum, a broad national consensus has to be created to make disinvestment a success. Thirdly, initiative for the consensus has to be necessarily taken. Fourthly, the process of disinvestment should be depoliticised. Disinvestment process should be funded. Disinvestment should be delinked from the Budget. Workers interest will have to be protected.
SHRI P.H. PANDIYAN : Everybody knows as to what is disinvestment disinvestment of the Government shares to corporate, industrial houses. Privatisation can be done by displacement. Secondly, there is displacement by default. Public Sector Undertaking, whether willful or not commit willful default at the instance of the Government in their performance. The leasing of airports in India is an example of this factor. On the 8th March, 2000, a Resolution was passed in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly not to sell the Salem Steel Plant but the Chief Minister is not able to pressurize the Prime Minister. Everybody knows that the banks were nationalized in 1969. The Supreme Court said that the nationalization of banks is in public interest. Now, privatization is in public interest. So far, about 41 public sector undertakings in India have been disinvested. But till date, a White Paper on Disinvestment has not been presented to this House. The disinvestment policy has adversely affected our economy. The public sector undertakings are not being sold to benefit nation's economy but the benefit of private parties. They are not here to rehabilitate those public sector undertakings which are running in loss. They are in a mood to sell even the profit-making public sector undertakings. We belong to a regional party. We have interest in the nation's wealth and we have to protect the interests of the nation. We do not approve of the Central Government disinvestment policy- past or present. Who is a Minister for Disinvestment? He is a seller. Why should there be a seller in a Government?
SHRI SUDIP BANDYOPADHYAY : I would request to change the name of the Department of this Ministry because it creates frustration. We are interested to know what is the policy of the Government in regard to disinvestment. Public sector undertakings should not be disinvested abruptly. On the one side hike in the prices of petroleum products, wheat, rice, etc. is going on and on the other hand the disinvestment is at its maximum thrash. The possibility of maximum unemployment again being precipitated. Everywhere some uncertainty is prevailing. The policy of the Government should be transparent and workers should not feel frustrated and disappointed. When the Central Government is going to take a decision of ten per cent in the central jobs, then this disinvestment policy will create further problems for unemployment. Why is there not a merger of Air India and Indian Airlines? It is our allegation from the very beginning that Eastern India is the worst sufferer of regional imbalances after Independence. West Bengal is going to be again the worst sufferer. Even the Central Navaratna Public Sector Undertakaings are facing uncertainties. So, we feel and also believe that a White Paper on this system, in particular, the very idea and the proposal of disinvestment. We want clarification as to which are the sectors in which the Government is going to take initiative to revive what are the Public Sector Undertakings in which they are in a mood to sell out to the private parties? So, I firmly believe that the Government should give all out importance to these deliberations. These are the sectors which were built up with a vision to build our nation after Independence from the beginning of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. That should not be allowed to be destroyed in a day. On behalf of our party we totally oppose the idea to disinvest all the public sector undertakings.
SHRI MANI SHANKAR AIYAR: A massive 300 page report has been brought out by the employees of this Government who are represented in the Standing Conference on Public Enterprises (SCOPE). I commend it to the entire Government and all the allies of the Government. At the start of this Session, I had asked as to whether the hon. Minister of Disinvestment knew of this report and what was his reaction to it. However, there was a shocking indifference on the part of the Government to what their own employees, what their best brains in their own business are saying or urging. The Minister of State merely summarised the last section of the Executive Summary which is entitled New Vision and he completely left out the "Major Findings". I am obliged to share with this House the major findings that have been made by the SCOPE along with the Centre for the Industrial and Economic Research. The Governments total investment in Public Sector Undertakings is about 77,000 crore of equity and about Rs.20,000 crore of outstanding loans. More than half of the investment in the public sector, has not been invested by the Government but has been invested by the Public Sector Undertakings themselves either from their own earnings or from what they have able to raise in the market. It is not the Governments money. Government has spent only half of what the total investment is. In just three years, 1996-99, the Central PSUs have raised over Rs.90,000 crore on the market, almost equal to the Central Governments entire cumulative investment in PSUs in the 50 years since Independence. Why would anyone wish to invest his money in the PSUs, if they do not a have better opinion of the PSUs. The net profit of the public sector is 17 to 19 per cent on the equity subscribed by the Government. It is much better than the net average of counterpart companies in the private sector. In just three years, 1996-99, the Government have earned a whopping 138 per cent on their cumulative investment over the last 50 years. Whereas the income-tax and corporate tax outstanding of all our Central PSUs put together is Rs.2,500 crore, the outstanding of the corporate assessees is nearly ten times higher. So, the taxes are being paid by the public sector undertakings; they are not being paid by the private sector. In just 22 out of the total 236 companies, their market capitalisation is 50 per cent higher than your entire investment over the last fifty years. You still denigrate the public sector. The average rate of profit before tax of the Public Sector Units is a good quarter per cent higher than for the private sector. Do you still say that you are not profitable? On the basis of the Economic Value Added criterion both the 50 top Public Sector Enterprises and the top 100 Public Enterprises have performed better than the top 50 private enterprises and the top 100 private enterprises. This conclusion has been drawn by SCOPE. I ask why is this assault on the Public Sector? Why does the Government insist on refusing to categorise the PSUs into efficient and non-efficient units; into viable and non-viable units and into economically strategic units and unnecessary units? What is the great problem that this Government has in categorising what should be disinvested; what should be privatised and what should be re-structured? Why is this total absence of transparency in dealing with assets worth nearly five hundred thousand crores of rupees. Why is the Government refusing to consult this issue with Parliament? Why is this obstinate refusal to spell out a policy? The Government is dealing with rupees twenty-five lakh worth of national wealth and they refuse to tell us a policy. Why is there this great reluctance to share with Parliament what Governments views are on amending article 12 of the Constitution, or adding an explanation to it to endow the public sector undertakings with the autonomy. Our public sector undertakings do not enjoy commercial autonomy. It needs to be given to them. The conclusions of the SCOPE study have been translated into a memorandum to Parliament Committee on Public Undertakings. I would urge that until the Committee on Public Undertakings reports back to Parliament on the SCOPE memo, all disinvestment should be put on a freeze. SCOPE have asked, Do we have a comprehensive disinvestment policy? Does Governments disinvestment policy include a holistic public sector policy? What should be the prime objectives of disinvestment? Is it privatisation, disinvestment, or restructuring? The Government refuses to specify the criteria saying that it will decide on a case-by-case basis. What is the institutional framework for disinvestment? Where will the proceeds of disinvestment go. There are no answers about the priorities that they have as to what should be done with the proceeds of disinvestment.
SHRI RASHID ALVI: The process of disinvestment started in 1991when Shri Narsimha Raos Government was in office. But what is its objective? Is it that only sick units would be sold out or even the units making profits would also be sold out and how the amount collected from disinvestment would be utilised. Have all these points been taken into account? When Congress Government proposed to retain 51 shares with Government and 49 per cent should be sold out in the banking sector, the BJP had strongly protested the move but now they themselves are going that way and they are reducing the Government equity in the banking sector to 33 per cent only and the rest of the equity are proposed to be sold out to private sector and capitalists. What development has since taken place? They say that it would not make any difference of one per cent workers are rendered jobless. Modern Food Industries was sold out in merely Rs.200 crores. There was no transparency in that deal. Shourie says that the Government is fighting terrorists should by no means burden itself with economic activities like manufacturing bicycles. It is unfortunate for the country that the Disinvestment Minister makes such statement. Would we sell out all our undertakings to procure arms in order to fight terrorists. What would happen to the people and poormen of this country? This is the wealth of the country. The Government is taking a dangerous step by selling public undertakings wherein public money has been invested. The Government constituted Disinvestment Commission and now it is selectively implementing only those recommendations and rejecting the others not suited to it. The Government is not prepared to spell out its policy and what are its positive points. This is how Zagirdars who did not want to work used to part with their land to meet their requirements. This Government is indulging into the same practice now and it is happening for the first time. Unless this Government has a clear-cut policy in regard to where the capital collected from disinvestment would be utilised, this policy cannot be successful. If the Government want that the disinvestment process should be carried out scrupulously and the amount should be utilised for the welfare of the poor people, then it should constitute without any discrimination a committee comprising of MPs from all parties. The Committee should be taken into confidence in regard to which undertakings is to be sold out. They should also be taken into confidence as to where that amount is to be utilised or invested. Even the allies of this Government are opposing the move of this Government. They have expressed what they sincerely feel about it. No one among us is a traitor whether they belong to Treasury Benches or the Opposition Parties. Each of them wants to build this nation with all sincerity. I do not want to blame Shri Arun Shourie alone since he is following the policy of his party. Hence I urge upon the Government that they should proceed with disinvestment process taking into confidence all. However, I oppose the policy pursued by this Government.
If one cannot distinguish between efficient and non-efficient PSUs, between perennially profit-making and consistently loss-making enterprises and also between those which occasionally make losses and those which occasionally make profits, then how can this Government have a Disinvestment Policy. We reiterate our demand for a Standing Committee on Disinvestment to oversee the activities of the new Department.
Not a paisa of Government money was invested in the Central PSUs without Parliament sanction. How this Government denied Parliament by not having consulted it on the game they are playing with national wealth worth hundreds and thousands of crores of rupees which they themselves have done nothing to create.
SHRI ANANDRAO VITHOBA ADSUL: First of all, I oppose the policy of disinvestment. After Independence, there was a necessity of massive investment in agriculture and industry. That is why, in 1969, 14 banks from the private sector were nationalised and thereafter six banks were nationalised in 1980. We have achieved some development through the public sector banks in the rural areas of this country. But, today we are going in for the privatisation of the public sector banks.
It has been told that there will be no retrenchment on account of disinvestment. But VRS is there. There are many doubts and fears in the minds of the working class. They would accept VRS because they think that in future, the private management would throw them out of jobs in the name of inefficiency or indiscipline or for any other reason. Today, the Government is the owner of public sector. That is why, person of every section, whether he belongs to SC or ST or any other backward class, is getting a job in the public sector. What will happen in future when private management comes in? If each public sector industry runs in profit, why should the Government disinvest that type of industry? Secondly, if some weak industry is there and if it is having some lands or assets in excess of the need, then why should the Government not try to revive that industry? Thirdly, if an industry is incurring heavy loss and if there is no other alternative, then one can understand the situation and the Government can disinvest.
DR. RAGHUVANSH PRASAD SINGH: This Government must reveal the reasons for which the Disinvestment Commission was wound up. They are bent upon selling and destroying 127 public sector undertakings which are running in profit. I charge this government that it is selling these undertakings in haste. So far as the question of Maruti is concerned, thousands of employees and workers are sitting on hunger strike. Cement Corporation of India is also lying closed for the last six months. Multinational companies have hatched a conspiracy by positioning the persons of their liking on top posts in these PSUs, so that it would be easier for them to buy these undertakings at throw away prices. It has been said that the Disinvestment Department has been created for collection of resources. However, the Government want to privatise the PSUs by resorting to disinvestment. Initially, there appears to be some advantage, but its ramification would be known later on. There is an apprehension in the minds of the people that there may be some kind of a scandal in this whole process.
PROF A.K. PREMAJAM: The present NDA Government is a bundle of contradiction and confusion. As far as the hon. Minister is concerned, he is sitting upon the liquidation of our national wealth. We do not know the policy of disinvestment which is being followed by BJP led NDA Government. They had started with Swadeshi, but now they are selling out our investments to foreign multinationals. They are paying lip service to Swedeshi, but they are serving videshi in acutal pratice. The improvement in productivity and profitability by selling out our shares and our wealth cannot be a reality.
In the Budget Speech of 1999-2000, the hon. Finance Minister said that the Central Government will provide funds to such Gram Panchayats that come forward with their own contribution to set up primary health centres and care facilities. But there is no investment in the social sector through disinvestment. I would also like to say that the working class would not be protected. For example, Maruti workers are on strike for more than two months and on fasting also for the last five days. They are being treated like bonded labourers because they are asked to give a self-attested certificate that they will be always performing in a good manner.
The Finance Minister also said in the Budget Speech that they will create one crore jobs in a year. According to their own policy, three crore jobs should have been created. But instead of that, they are selling out the public sector undertakings.
THE MINISTER OF STATE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DISINVESTMENT AND THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF PLANNING, MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF STATISTICS AND PROGRAMME IMPLEMENTATION, MINISTER OF STATE IN THE DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS AND PUBLIC GRIEVANCES OF THE MINISTRY OF PERSONNEL, PUBLIC GRIEVANCES AND PENSIONS (SHRI ARUN SHOURIE): It is a very important subject. The hon. Members said that there should be greater Parliamentary supervision and Parliamentary participation in this whole process and why we have obstinately refused for a Standing Committee on Disinvestment. Hon. Speaker has decided that the Committee that oversees the work of the Ministry of Finance will also oversee the work of the Department of Disinvestment. Just now Shri Sudip Bandyopadhyay was making a point that before a disinvestment decision is taken, there should be Parliamentary consultation and supervision. I would like to mention the delicacy of the matter. For instance, in international competitive bidding it is very important that the potential bidders should not know who they are bidding against. If these matters were to be disclosed first to the Parliament when there is a clear distinction between legislative functions and executive functions. The process is completely transparent. There is a Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment presided over by the Prime Minister.
In Punna Mukta fields case, the disinvestment process was not there. In the Maruti case the Cabinet decisions say that a Committee of Secretaries shall be appointed headed by the Cabinet Secretary to open discussions with Suzuki for recommending optimal ways for disinvesting in Maruti. A point was made by many friends that the Disinvestment Commission has said that we must set up a separate Disinvestment Fund. The purpose of that was that the funds should come in one block. They should be used for social sector, for restructuring the public sector enterprises to retire the public debt, for reviving the industries. After considering all these, we have put this suggestion to the Finance Minister. The position is that priorities of development policy and for restructuring and all other expenditures are being set by Parliament in approval of the Budget and by the Planning Commission through the funds that Parliament allocates for budgetary support to the Plan and the State Plans.
One question that was raised about the question of valuation. That is very important because if assets are not valued, it would be a crime, a cognizable offence. There was one case of under valuation. The shares of Maruti were brought down. On the question of Modern Foods, the assets were valued not in one way but in four ways. It must be done by different methods because sometimes valuation of assets is important. With regard to valuation, I would like to submit that valuation will be there and it will be cross-checked by the C&AG and he will be submitting his report to Parliament. There is a perennial demand for a White Paper. When each and every question has been clarified, answered where is the need for a White Paper? Our friends made point about profit making companies. I will just mention two points in that context. When the Congress(I) Government did minority sales of the shares, the shares of 41 companies were sold, of those, 38 companies were profit making companies. In many cases, the profit may be there today. But it will be rapidly dwindling. I will mention to you just the case of VSNL. Till yesterday, it had a monopoly on international calls. Now, there is gateways to seven other companies. Its market share is plummeting.
An hon. Member asked why are we not taking things to BIFR and why are we not restructuring these companies? In the last nine years, 23 revival packages have been implemented by the Government costing Rs.34,000 crore and not a single company has been revived. This is wastage of public money. In the case of BIFR, 2841 companies were referred to BIFR and only less than nine per cent of the companies have been revived, many of them automatically because market conditions changed. But all the others just have to wound up or are still lying in that mortuary.
My plea to the House is that please believe that Parliament has full control and it will be fully informed, it is being fully informed. Thirdly, it is time for us to learn from the history of the last two decades. Public sector workers in almost every sector have one and a half to two times the emoluments of comparable private sector firms in the same industry. If we confuse the public by this kind of rhetoric or if we inflame public sector workers, all that we would have accomplished is that the value of those enterprises will be even less and the very object that you want to achieve, that is, the Government of India should get the best value for these enterprises will be defeated. So, my plea is, let us work together to a policy that is clear, transparent and open.
RESOLUTION RE: APPROVAL OF RECOMMENDATIONS CONTAINED IN THE FIRST REPORT OF RAILWAY CONVENTION COMMITTEE
DEMAND FOR SUPPLEMENTARY GRANTS RAILWAYS
THE MINISTER OF RAILWAYS (KUMARI MAMATA BANERJEE) moving the resolution that this House approves the recommendations made in paragraphs 115, 116, 117, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123 and 124 contained in the First Report of the Railway Convention Committee, 1999 appointed to review the rate of dividend payable by the Railway Undertaking to General Revenues, etc., which was presented to Lok Sabha on 22 August, 2000, said: I am grateful to all the hon. Members for their full support. Indian Railways is passing through a critical juncture, especially from the point of view of safety after the recommendations received from the Khanna Committee. This is a crisis time for the Railways, especially when the coaches, the rakes, the signalling system, etc. have become old. But inspite of all these odds, the Indian Railways are trying its best to serve the nation and the people. We have planned a new safety plan for the next 10 years. In my last Budget, I gave 21 new trains. Out of that, 20 trains have already started. This Supplementary Demand relates to all the subjects. Technically, it is related to the safety matter. I would like to give one information to all the hon. Members that they should recall that a loading target of 475 million tonnes has been kept in the Budget for the current year. I am happy to inform the House that the Railways have already loaded 306.69 million tonnes till the end of November 2000, which is 16.25 million tonnes more than the loading last year. Going by the current trend, I am hopeful that the Railways would exceed the target laid down and it will be more than that. In financial terms, the goods earning during the period is Rs.15,219 crore which is Rs.956 crore higher than last years achievement. The passenger earning is also Rs.206 crore higher than the target. I will request the hon. Members to give us some important suggestions to improve the safety networks, and for reforms and restructuring of the Indian Railways
SHRI K.H. MUNIYAPPA: The Indian Railway system is the biggest in the railways of the world. The Railways have been contributing their share to the nation. Therefore, it is our prime concern to build and develop a safe railway network. I would like to urge upon the Government that some new formula should come up to develop the railways. The Government of Karnataka has ventured an MoU with the Ministry of Railways through Karnataka Rail Infrastructure Development Company Limited K-RIDE. The hon. Minister has taken up four projects on a joint venture basis. I would like to urge upon the Government to provide at least Rs.1,000 crore for this joint venture every year. The Ministry of Railways should exploit the commercial viability of the railway wasteland in cities wherever found feasible. It can be used by the railways for the tourist centres, to construct hotels and for commercial purposes that can be more useful. I would like to give a few suggestions. Linking of pilgrimage centre is one. Running some special trains such as Palace on Wheels, which is successful in North India. Construction of Railway Yatri Niwas hotels and running them in a systematic way would also earn money and foreign exchange for the Government of India.
Railways have enormous capacity to handle the goods, but because of the complex procedure and non-cooperation of railway staff, these goods are moving through trucks. Therefore, it is necessary to identify the field staff for the purpose and part of the earnings be given to the private agents on commission basis on a trial run. Railways should try to transport perishable goods also. Because of high production of the agricultural produce and low transportation facilities, farmers are facing many difficulties.
In Karnataka 25 to 30 projects are still pending. The survey of the Bisanattam-Manikuppam line in my constituency has been noted for consideration by the hon. Minister for Railways, but the money has not been provided for the same. Another important thing to which I would like to invite the attention of the hon. Railway Minister is that the revised combined cost of construction of Cable Stayed Bridge with approaches (kilometre 321 near K.R. Puram), on Chennai-Kilar-Bangalore section of National Highway No.4 is Rs.47.42 crore. So far the Government has sanctioned only Rs.22.2 crore. The remaining amount should be released at an early date to finish this project. On Bangarpet-Yelahanka railway line project, fifty per cent of the work has already been completed. I request the hon. Railway Minister to give top priority to this project. Since 1947, the work of the construction of railway coaches had been entrusted to Bharat Earth Movers Limited. Now it has been given to the Rail Coach Factory Kapurthala and the Integrated Coach Factory, Chennai. I would like to know what is the fate of the Bharat Earth Movers Limited where 5,000 workers are in trouble? I would request the hon. Minister to kindly share this problem. Another important aspect is about safety. The strict measures are to be taken for safety in the railways. I would like to urge upon the Government to give necessary funds for maintenance and cleanliness. I would like to urge upon the Government to give necessary funds for the Railways to take up all pending projects whether they are in Karnataka or elsewhere.
SHRI THAWAR CHAND GEHLOT supporting the supplementary Demands for Grants (Railways), said: The Railway sector has improved after Mamataji has taken over this Ministry. She has just now told about achievements of the department and these are surely commendable. She expressed concern about safety aspect and told about the steps taken in this regard. I would like to draw attention of the hon. Minister towards some problems of Madhya Pradesh. The Ministry has not provided required amount for implementation of schemes. The transportation of goods is increasing, income is also increasing but the percentage of increase is less than the other sector. The shortcomings in this sector should be removed to get more freight.
The work of laying new rail line on Lalitpur to Sangrauli should be speed up. The efforts should be made to run smoothly the zonal office at Bilaspur. The work of conversion meter gauge on Ratlam-Neemuch line is still pending. I would like to request the hon. Minister to provide more funds in the next Budget to complete the pending schemes. The work might be speeded up at Maxi-Indore Golhra rail line. The work on Guna Etawah and Ravghat rail line should be completed immediately. The survey work at Ramtek-Gotegaon line on Raipur to Baloda Bazar, Sargarh-Jharaskuda section has been completed and further work should be started. The work of gauge conversion on Gwalior-Sheopur has not been started. The survey work has not been started at Indore-Bhuwani Salamatpur, Raisen, Begamganj to Sagar rail line. The new rail lines should be laid from Ujjain to Ramgarh Mandi, Sagar Devari, Kerala, Nagpur section. The electrification of line from Indore to Ujjain is required. After two years Sinhast Mela is likely to conduct in Ujjain. So more amenities should be provided at Ujjain railway station. Kisauni railway station should be made as full fledged station. New locking and signal system should be provided at Devas station. The railway is an important department of the Government and there should be no slackness.
SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA: The hon. Minister of Railways while initiating the debate has stated that the main thrust is the safety. We also realise that safety should be the most important area of the Indian Railways. But the Supplementary Demands for Grants which has been presented, does not reflect the intention of the hon. Minister although certain allocations have been made for manning the unmanned level crossings. We also want that the unmanned level crossings should be manned. There is also a provision for providing inter-locking system. This is also a safety item. We know that there are certain derailment prone sections where derailments have taken place for years together. The Commissioner of Railway Safety is to inquire into all serious accidents. Whenever accidents take place, the Commissioner of Railway Safety is immediately asked to inquire into them. But of 2274 serious accidents reported during the period under review only 126 that is 5.54 per cent, were inquired into by the Commissioner of Railway Safety.
There is another alarming situation relating to the track circuit. All stations would be provided with track circuit but till now this has not been done. Another serious issue relates to the safety category staff. On an average, 8.07 per cent vacancies existed in the safety category staff. The shortage was more acute at 11.20 per cent in the case of driver category. In this category, it is vital to fill up the vacancies. A number of vacancies in this category are not filled up for years together because of a standing instruction from the Railway Board that about six per cent of the staff strength should be reduced. Another important area is the duty hours of the drivers. There was an agreement with the All India Loco Running Staff Association that the duty hours of the loco running staff should be limited to ten hours. But that is being violated in a number of ways. Accidents take place due to mechanical failure because of permanent way of rolling stocks because replacement has not been done properly. Twenty per cent of our tracks are old and over-aged. There is no fund for that. There is an urgent need for replacement, for permanent way. Priority area should be to increase the capacity to replace our over-aged coaches, over-aged rolling stocks and over-aged permanent way to modernise our signalling system. There is an Organisation called Centre of Railway Information System. The purpose of that organisation was to computerise the entire freight system. What is it doing now? It would not be correct to cripple that Organisation instead of strengthening it. Provisions have been made for restoration of bridges, and railway lines damaged due to recent floods in the State of West Bengal. There is a large scale damage to the property of the Railways. Already four months have elapsed. Restoration of train services in all sections has not been done. It does not brook any delay. Certain trains have been withdrawn. We do not know the reason for their withdrawal. The narrow gauge lines should also be converted to broad gauge. The pending conversion to broad gauge, rail buses can be brought and put on the service on Vardhman-Katwa and Katwa-Ahmedpur section. Two months back the Railway Board approved extending one train from Agra to Purilia and Purilia to Agra. Still it is pending with the South-Eastern Railway. When the Railway Board has approved it, I do not know where lies the difficulty. In the coming Budget more thrust should be given to safety, replacement and renewal and modernisation of the railway system otherwise, Indian Railways will not survive.
SHRI PRADEEP RAWAT: I believe that after a long time, Railways have a Minister who is really devoted and committed to the problems of the Railway Ministry and the safety of the passengers. Since last 28 years, nearly 10,000 people have died in accidents and almost three-times more have been handicapped; property worth nearly Rs.9,000 crore have been damaged; and we have lost 1.5 lakh man days. This is a colossal loss. We have to address this problem. I want to highlight the operating speed of the Railways. It has got two problems. One is the steel which we use. The hydrogen content which is internationally know is 3 part per million but the steel which we procure for Indian Railways has 6 PPM. I think that is the cause of the cracking of our tracks. Another thing is that for the rescue operations in 1984-85 we purchased 140 tonne cranes with an understanding that they will be able to operate at 90 kilometres per hour speed. If the cranes cannot run on an operating speed of more than 90 kilometres per hour, how can other rolling stock run at higher speed? I would urge Kumari Mamata Banerjee that Pune-Mumbai connectivity is the most important aspect as far as our economic structure is concerned.
DR. MANDA JAGANNATH: Railways play a great role in the uplift and sustenance of the economy of the country. It is good that the Minister has stressed upon the safety needs. To maintain the safety system, I would request the hon. Minister to see that coaches are well designed and the track is well designed. A number of accidents are occurring at unmanned gates. So, such gates should be manned. In Andhra Pradesh certain projects were sanctioned and conceived but they were delayed for a long time. Budgetary allocation was very less thereby causing cost and time over-runs. If the projects which have been sanctioned in backward districts are taken up on time, migration from there could be avoided. I request the hon. Minister that in new line, Nalgonda-Macherla-raichur, Macheria-Gadwal may be included. I request the hon. Minister to look into the schemes and take necessary steps regarding the construction of a foot over-bridge, computerisation of reservation office and improvement of passenger amenities at Kuppam Railway Station, providing manned railway crossing at unmanned Mallanur Railway Station, construction of road over-bridges according to Vision 2020. I also request the hon. Minister to sanction a new train from Tirupati to New Delhi and increase the frequency of trains running between Vijayawada and Goa. I also request the hon. Minister to develop Bitragunta Railway Station and have a railway yard to cater to the facilities and needs of the EMUs there. The gauge conversion between Mudhkhed and Bollaram is going on at snail pace. I request the hon. Minister to take up these projects and give them preference.
KUNWAR AKHILESH SINGH : There has been uncertainty in regard to the implementation of 66 new projects on gauge conversions. We have a network of 62,000 Kms. of rail track. However, only 23.68 per cent of rail track has so far been electrified. How long it will take to electrify the entire network of rail track. We should give a serious thought to avert rail accidents. We should make renewed efforts to turn our loss-making tracks into profitable ones. C&AG has presented its report on wastage. Efforts should be made to stop wastages. Action should be taken against the corrupt officials. The gauge conversion project in respect of Nawtanva has been sanctioned. This rail line serves to link Budha circuit. No allocation has been made for gauge conversion of such an important rail line. Funds should be earmarked for the gauge conversion of Gorakhpur, AnandNagar Gonda rail line in this very financial year. If the work relating to gauge conversion of Anand Nagar-Nautanva rail ine is executed, it would prove to be a convenient and a suitable route for the foreign travellers coming from Nepal to India and vice-versa. If the Rajdhani Express going to Guwahati is run from Delhi via Lucknow-Gorakhpur for one day on Friday, it would provide good train services for the passengers of Gorakhpur, Gonda, Siwan and Chhapra. The railway properties is being illegally occupied. All the contracts being awarded by Eastern Railways, Gorakhpur should be reexamined. The caucus of three four mafias have grabbed these contracts.
SHRI CHANDRAKANT KHAIRE : The Marathwara region and its people have always been a subject to gross injustice. Gotegaon falls under my Constituency and it was sanctioned that Tapowan Express would have a halt here for two minutes. However, no extra coaches has been provided nor any new rail line has been provided for. Ours is a backward region. Railways has ignored most parts of the Maharashtra. A project was undertaken to lay a new rail line from Amrawati to Narkhed at a cost of Rs. 175 crore. However, till March, 2000 only Rs. 34 crore have been spent thereon and a meager amount of Rs. 6 crore has been provided in the budget for 2000-2001. A project of Rs. 353 crore was started for laying a new rail line between Ahmad Nagar-Bid-Parali Baijnath, however, only Rs. 44 thousand has been spent so far on this project and again a meager amount of Rs. 3 crore has been provided for it in the budget for 2000-2001 which is a sign of having no will to implement this project in any respect. Miraj-Latur stretch is 359 Kms. The gauge conversion project in regard to this stretch costs approximately Rs. 314 crore but so far only an amount of Rs. 93 crore has been spent thereon and in the budget for 2000-2001 an amount of Rs. 15 crore has been provided for. Akola-Purna gauge conversion projects is to be implemented at the cost of Rs. 228 crore. However, no money has so far been spent thereon. A survey in regard to a new rail line between Shegaon-Jalna has been conducted.
However, it is yet to be sanctioned by earmarking funds for it. The Mudkher-Adilabad and Mudkher-Nizamabad gauge conversion projects are not being implemented in want of funds. There is only one train for Nanded to Mumbai and it has only one second AC- Coach. There is one one train for Marathwada to Mumbai which has only 12 coaches. The number of coaches should be increased from 12 to 18. Marathwada, earlier a part of Hyderabad state is yet to be linked with the Central Railways. Purla-Manmad Express should be extended upto Nanded. Latur, Purnawali, Akola, Rotegaon, Purnamata, Jalna, Khamgaon should be linked by a rail line. A survey should be conducted for the route from Jalgaon to Sholapur via Bid. Super-fast trains like Nanded-Mumbai should also be introduced. A new train from Aurangabad to Tirupati should be run. Marathwada railways lack funds. Railway bonds should be issued for the people of Marathwada. By advertisements and constructing complexes at railway properties, more funds can be mopped up by railways. We would wholeheartedly extend our support to the railway bonds if railways do so.
SHRI TARUN GOGOI : Railways plays a very important role in the economic development of the region, an promoting national integration and bringing people together from the different parts of the country. North-Eastern region is rich in natural and mineral resources, but the State is lagging far behind economically and industrially. Only through the improvement in the Railways, road, river and other methods of communications there will be economic development. Unless there is a special package for the North-Eastern region, that area will remain backward. In the North-Eastern region, most of the rail lines were constructed during the British period. After the introduction of broad gauge, instead of extending these lines they have withdrawn them. Earlier there was a meter gauge line from Supermukh via Haibergaon to Mairabari. Naogaon is a very important town. I took up the matter with the then Railway Minister and he ultimately agreed to it. A decision was taken that from Haibergaon to Mairabari a rail bus will be run. Bogibeel is a very important bridge over the Brahmaputra not only linking backward area of Assam but also it links up with the whole of Arunachal Pradesh. This is an area to which you must give the topmost priority. Another is in the Rangia Division. In the whole of North Bank from Rangia to Morkakselang, there is no broad gauge line it should be converted to broad gauge line. We want more and more trains to Mumbai, Bangalore and to other places in the South. Rajdhani trains should be made daily. Introduce Rajdhani trains other days with a lesser number of stoppages. Maron-Dibrugarh branch line should be extended. By linking up with Maron-Dibrugarh another train can be introduced. From Guwahati it can be linked up with Naogaon, then Gologhat, then Jorghat, then Sibsagar and then Dibrugarh.. This will reduce the time.
DR. LAXMINARAYAN PANDEYA: We are discussing these Supplementary Demands with a focus on security and safety aspect. With the induction of new gadgets and equipments in the railways and consequent upon due consultations, the incidents of rail accidents have definitely decreased. However, we still need to make some improvements. For past sometime, the passengers public and Members of Parliament have been pressing for increasing the number of coaches. In this context, I have to request that the expansion work of platforms should be expeditiously taken up. The small old platforms may be retained. Wherever necessary from security point of view, the expansion of platforms should be carried out and a acceptable way out should be found keeping in view the public-sentiments. In my Constituency,, the gauge conversion of meter gauge line should be expeditiously carried out under Western Railways so that revenue receipts of railways should be increased and the industries may get a boost. The construction of overbridges should also be taken care of. Adequate funds should be allocated for the expeditious implementation of gauge conversions in the next budget.
SHRI CHANDRA VIJAY SINGH: I regret ignoring an important Division of Northern Railways- the Moradabad Division. This Division only features in serial number 14 for interlocking four stations and nothing more. I request to have all the unmanned railway crossings of the important unmanned railway crossings in Moradabad Division manned. Moradabad has a platform called, platform number five, which is about a kilometer away from the main railway station. Lots of accidents, do take place while people commuting at night to that platform. The accidents can be avoided if that platform is opened up for the public so that people do not have to traverse one kilometer from the main railway station. Chandausi is a very important Mandi of Moradabad District. Kindly arrange for computer reservation facilities for Chandausi in Moradabad Division of Northern Railways. We don't have direct link with Mumbai. There should also be a direct train to and fro from Delhi on a daily basis. That would give our town a great impetus and increase exports.SHRI ADHI SANKAR: Long term planning is required for safety and security in Railways. Track renewal is required Automatic Warning System is required. The Government of Tamil Nadu have identified about construction of 12 Railway Over Bridges (ROB) in the Southern Railway which require to be taken on priority. Since these bridges fall under the metropolitan city and due to heavy traffic, people are put to lot of inconvenience. The hon. Railway Minister should include these schemes also in the forthcoming Railway Budget. The other bridges are to be constructed at Korrkupet Railway Station between Madurai-Kanyakumari Road NH-7, near Thiruparankundram railway station, RUB near Nehru Bazaar Street with Rotary at Avadi yard, ROB between Tambaram and Vandalur stations.
Representation have been received for introduction of Millennium New Train Service from Chennai to Jodhpur/Ajmer via Kalyan-Ahmedabad, Marwar and also another train ex-Tiruchi to Ajmer. The Navjeevan Express should be extended upto Ajmer to meet the long-standing demand of the people. A new railway line be laid between Villupuram to Salem via Tirukoilure, Kallakurichi and also lay down the new line between Cuddalore to Pondicherry in Southern Railway. The work of Cuddalore ROB and also construction of new ROBs between the Highway road at Panruti and also at Ulundurpet should be expedited. A computer reservation centre should be opened at Villupuram Jn. And more funds should be allocated in Cuddalore-Salem, Villupuram to Tanjore B.G. conversion. In my Cuddalore parliamentary constituency three assembly segments are not so far using the train facility even they have not seen the train also. To avoid this long pending proposal Chengalpattu to Salem via Tiruvannamalai, Tirukoilur, Reshivanthiyam, Kallakurichi new line formation may be laid.
SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI: The Ministry has sanctioned about Rs.173 crore only to the State of Tamil Nadu. We have been neglected and ignored. The amount sanctioned to the State of Tamil Nadu by the Ministry of Railways is meager and piecemeal. This would adversely affect the on-going projects, some of the gauge conversion projects, the metro projects and the monument programme like MRTS in metropolitan cities like Chennai. There was a Master Plan in which quadrilateral electrification was planned, in which all the four metro cities were to be linked with electrfication. But Chennai and Mumbai have not seen the light of the day yet. The policy of the Railways has to have a re-look. The State Electricity Boards owe about Rs. 1,800 crore to the Railways. Now the Board can conveniently go in for mass electrification and stop payment and continue to draw power till the arrears are wiped off. For a new line project of Karur to Salem, the estimate is Rs.225 crore and the amount allotted for this year is only Rs.10 crore. This meager allotment will slow down the process. I would request to kindly allot more funds for this project in the forthcoming year. For Tiruchirapalli-Nagaur-Karaikal project, the estimate is Rs.200 crore and the allotted sum is Rs. 3 crore. For Quilon-Tirunelvili- Tiruchendur-Tenkasi- Virudhanagar, the allotted amount was Rs. 3 crore. Villupuram-Pondicherry project has been allotted Rs. one crore for Madurai-Rameswaram. An amount of Rs. 5 crore is allotted for Tanjore-Villupuram, the amount allotted was Rs. 10 crore, for Palani-Chamarajnagar, an amount of only Rs. One lakh was allotted. If this is the way some of these important projects are funded, it would take 30-40 years to complete them. This is a pressing demand and immediate attention has to be paid to this. We require a separate Salem Division to be created. In my constituency, two overbridges are very much required, one at Salem-Sivadhapuram and another at Omalur. Gauge conversion work should be undertaken on Salem-Cuddalore line. Salem-Karur, Salem-Erode are two important towns, and they are commercially viable. There has been a demand for an Electrical Multiple Unit, which may also be considered. Single fast passenger train from Salem to Bangalore could be made as a pair, that is, one starting from Salem and another starting from Bangalore. Level crossing in Tenkasi is an immediate requirement of the people there. If a new train is started from Dindigul to Sabrimala that would help both the States of Kerala and Southern parts of the State of Tamil Nadu. A train from Salem or Coimbatore would cover the entire State. I request for a stoppage of the Kanyakumari Express at Kadambur. There is a need to run a new additional train from Karur to Chenni via Tiruchirapalli. The broad gauge conversion of the Manamadurai and Rameswaram railway line should also be taken under consideration. Funds for construction of a sub-way for Tuticorin Gate No. 1 and 2 would be allocated. I would like to request the Minister to see that land for that purpose is allotted by the State Government.
SHRI ANADI SAHU: Steps need to be taken to man all unmanned level crossings. Steps need to be taken to make the signal staff more responsive to the situation. Although Rs.5.10 crores have been allocated for the gauge conversion of Aaupada-Gunupur railway line, no action has yet been taken. This may be expedited. I had requested earlier that at least one train, weekly, may be started from Khurdha Road to New Delhi via Berhampur, Srikakulam, Vizianagram, Kelinga and Raipur. This will keep in passengers from Ganjam, Gajapati, Srikakulam districts to get direct train linkage to New Delhi. A large number of people go from my constituency to Surat in the Puri-Okha, Puri-Ahmedabad Express trains. As there is no general compartments, labourers going without prior programme find it difficult to get accommodation. Two general compartments may be added to these trains. The Sukinda-Baanspari Railway line in Khurdha Road division has not yet been completed. Funds have been sanctioned but progress is very slow. The work may be expedited. Electrification of the track from Palasa to Bhadrak on the SER is very slow. This may be expedited. The East Coast Railway Zone has not yet been exceptional. This may be expedited. The Haridaspur-Paradip line of SER is yet to be completed. The State Government has already given the required land. Railways may take steps to lay the lines. Although survey has been completed and funds to the tune of Rs.10.00 crore have been allocated, no work has started on the Khurdha Road Bolangir Railway line. This may be taken up.
SHRI P.S. GADHAVI: I would like to submit certain points concerning to my constituency, i.e. Kutch district (Gujarat). Gauge conversion work between Samkhiyali to Palanpur requires to be started and completed as early as possible. Frequency of Bareli-Gandhidham Express train be increased four times in a week from two in a week. Ahmedabad-Howrah Express train be extended to Bhni at least twice a week. Similarly long Distance Trains Cochin-Ahmedabad and Chennai-Ahmedabad also requires to be extended up to Bhni at least twice a week. In Kutch district, Khanda Town in Bhni Taluka assumes much importance from the defence point of view and therefore survey work for extension of Railway line from Bhni to Kharda may be carried out. Gauge conversion from Laiya to Wamakaner is almost complete. I, therefore, request that the new railway train connecting Bhni and Rajkot may please be introduced. Inter-city train between Ahmedabad to Bhni be introduced.
SHRI V. VETRISELVAN: First of all, I would like to congratulate the hon. Minister of Railways that she has extended free travel facility to girl students up to the 12th standard. An amount of Rs.15 is being charged for season tickets from people who are living below the poverty line and who are earning less than Rs.400 a month. This is also a commendable step. Budgetary provision for laying new railway lines in the country is Rs.790 crore for the current year. Out of that, Tamil Nadu gets a mere Rs.44 crore. I feel that it is an injustice to the State. I request to make a higher allocation to the State and allocate more funds for construction of over-bridges and fly-overs in place of level crossings. The level crossing at Pachakuppam, Vaniyambadi and Pachoor need to be replaced by a road over-bridge at the earliest. Golden Rock workshop is a renowned and prestigious workshop of Southern Railway. I request to the hon. Minister to look into the pressing needs of the workshop.
There is a lot of unused land of the Railways available at many places. The Panchayat and Municipality are willing to purchase those lands. So, those lands can be sold to them. In Tamil Nadu, several main lines are still metre-gauge lines. All those lines may be converted into broad gauge lines as soon as possible. A railway line between Jolarpettai and Hosur existed before Independence. But for some unknown reasons, the service had been stopped. It is the dream of the people of my Constituency to have a new line between Jolarpoettai and Hosur via Krishnagiri.
I also request for a new line formation from Villupuram to Salem and Cuddalore to Pondicherry. In 1992, a new broad gauge line from Tiruchirappalli to Nagore was announced. The scheme had been taken up by the Government but the line from Tiruchirappalli to Thanjavur has only been completed. The line from Thanjavur to Nagore has not been completed. So, I request the hon. Minister to complete the work and to allocate more funds. There are eight trains passing through my constituency but no train stops at Palakpod. A lot of people going to Sabarimala from Tamil Nadu go from Thanjavur to Sabarimala. We request the hon. Minister to introduce a special train.
SHRI TILAKDHARI PRASAD SINGH: Sanction has already been accorded for Giridihar-Kodarma railway line, but total funds required for the work have not been given. Funds should be released early so as to expedite the work. Land is being acquired along Maruatand for a new line from Kodarma. This line should pass through Larabad instead of Kodarma because a large number of houses will be demolished if the line is taken through Kodarma.
Ranchi, which is the capital of Jharkhand lacks adequate railway facilities. The Sealdah Rajdhani Express should be provided a stoppage at Kodarma station. The number of berths in all classes and all trains viz Purushottam, Poorva etc. should be increased at Kodarma station. The Jandhpur express, Poorva express and other superfast trains should be provided stoppage at Hazaribagh road station and a train should be introduced from Dhanbad to Delhi. It should be provided a stoppage at Hazaribagh road and Kodarma. A railway crossing should be provided at Maskodih between Dhanbad and Kodarma. The train running between Giridih and Madhupur for four days a week should be run full week.
SHRI BHAN SINGH BHAURA: There should be a overbridge in Bathinda city at the point of Khoorni Phatak. There should be a underbridge in Mansa city. There should be one overbridge in Raman mandi in Bathinda district. Crossing level have been sanctioned on Delhi-Bathinda Railway line near Gulaheesh village. 10 lakh rupees have been given from MPLADS Fund but construction work has not been done. Bhatinda is the biggest Railway Junction in Northern Railways. No maodern facilities have been provided there. Bhatinda Railway Station should be modernised. Double line sanctioned between Rajpura-Bhatinda should be started construction. There should be double line between Jakhel and Bhatinda.
SHRI RASHID ALVI: Railway department is not providing the funds as desired. The safety of Railways has reached an alarming stage. Today evening we were discussing the issue of disinvestment. I am afraid that this Government will resort to disinvestment of the Railways department as well. The Railways should undertake the work of laying railway tracks and introduce trains at such places which could provide revenue. I am sad to say that the Government is not giving the kind of attention towards Uttar Pradesh as it should have.
There are lots of land lying unused near the railway stations in Western U.P. Those lands are lying unused for the last 50 years. It can generate good revenue if we put them on use. Electrification works in the country is going on in the entire country at a slow pace. An expert committee should be constituted to look into it. As per the Government version there are 24 thousand unmanned railway crossings in the country. Accidents are occurring near Moradabad, Rampur and Gajraula in Western Uttar Pradesh. I request you to kindly allot some funds to Amroha. People will really get benefited if Railway department constructs an over-bridge there. Besides, important trains also do not stop there. There should be a stoppage for important trains.
There are no adequate safety measures in the trains and specially the women travellers do not feel secure while travelling. The Government should deploy such policemen who are honest. An assurance was given to introduce a
train from Gajraula to Chandpur via Bijnaur but that is yet to see light of the day. This will benefit the people of Uttarakhand as well as Western Uttar Pradesh. There is a small station named Bachharyun in my constituency. The railway department converted it into a halt after degrading it. It should be restored as a station.
SHRI SHRINIWAS PATIL: KARAD on South Central Railway is my Lok Sabha constituency. All Mail Express Trains stop at Karad. Karad is famous for educational institutions. About 3000 to 5000 students are coming from other States of the country here. Still there is no facility of computerised reservation. I request to kindly give personal attention to this request and do the needful in near future
SHRI MANIKRAO HODLYA GAVIT: The passengers are facing hardships due to single track on Bhusawal-Surat rail line. The Gujarat State has direct rail route to South. I demand for doubling of this rail route. If it is not possible to carry out this work, right now, then it should be given allocation in the next General Budget.
All the express trains running on Bhusawal-Surat rail line must be given stoppage at Nawapur and Dodaicha stations which are in my constituency Nandurbar (Maharashtra) to facilitate the local people there. Special facilities should also be provided at Nandurbar railway station on Bhusawal-Surat railway line. Backward tribal areas should also be given priority in this regard.
SHRI SUKDEO PASWAN: Majority of the experts are of the view that if fast trains are run on old tracks, there will definitely be possibilities of accidents. The hon. Minister should do something to install modern equipments so as to avert accidents. My request is that Railways should not be privatised. The catering system in the Railways is not satisfactory. Attention should be paid specially on the quality of mineral water. About eight coaches of the three new models had been procured from Germany. They are lying unused at the yard of New Delhi Railway Station. I would request that these should be utilised and the money should not go waste.
Katihar-Jogbani line is supposed to pass through three parliamenatary constituencies and terminate at Indo-Nepal border. I hope the foundation stone would be laid in the near future and the work would start. More funds should be allocated for expediting the work of gauge conversion of Forbisganj-Saharsa line. Sanction may also be given for starting the survey of Supaul-Peepra-Triveni-Raniganj-Shitwah-Araria line. There is a long pending demand for construction of Shankarpur-Triveniganj-Jadia-Chhatapur-Mirdal-Narpatganj-Batnaha rail line. But, this project is still hanging in fire. Steps are also required to be taken for doing something in this regard. Araria is a district headquarters in my constituency. It should be converted into a railway station.
There are many labourers who travel on valid tickets from Bihar to Punjab and Haryana, but the jawans of GRP and railway employees intimidate them unnecessarily and deprive them of their money etc. Such incidents must be stopped forthwith. Eight bogies should be attached to the train running from Katihar to Jogbani. Besides, a direct train should be introduced from Katihar to New Delhi.
SHRI BHARTRUHARI MAHTAB: Railway provide the cheapest mode of transport. Therefore, Government should provide maximum safety to the passengers travelling in the train so that their confidence in the Railways continues. The hon. Minister has already stated that progress has been made, but much more needs to be done and she needs full support from all quarters. Railways are not able to handle the quantum of traffic that they are supposed to handle. Railway carry 20 per cent of the passenger traffic and the Roadways carry 80 per cent. Railways are six-times energy efficient than that of the Roadways. The rail construction cost is also six-times cheaper than that of the road. If the freight traffic only is reversed then the saving on diesel alone will be worth around Rs.6000 crore. Therefore, a new Transport Policy Committee should be appointed. By the end of the Ninth Plan, the passenger traffic is going to increase upto 399.4 billions and freight traffic is going to increase to nearly 520 million tonnes.
In a recent ordinance about the Central Road Fund, it has been decided that 50 per cent cess on high speed diesel will be invested for the development of rural roads and entire cess on petrol will be allotted as follows: that is, 57.5 per cent of this 50 per cent will be invested for development and maintenance of national highways and only 12.5 per cent will be invested for construction of roads, under or over bridges and safety measures for unmanned level crossings. The rest, that is, 30 per cent will be given for development of State roads. In this year, 2000-01, around Rs.5800 crores has been given but the total money which has been collected is going towards the development of roads. We are loosing our priority which should be given to the development of safety measures, specially of the railways.
I would draw the attention of the hon. Minister to Haridaspur-Paradip and Khurda-Bolangir. The State has to provide the land. About the Lanjigarh and Koraput-Raigarh line the position is the same. If they hand over the land to the Railways, construction can be carried out speedily.
SHRI BIKRAM KESHARI DEO: Railway Project namely Langigarh Road to Junagarh has been under construction since last 9 years and is yet to be complete because of poor allocation against the same project. My humble request in this august House is to provide sufficient funds for the Langigarh-Road-Junagarh project and provide some allocation for survey of the Railway line beyond Junagarh to Ambagura on the KK Line and make it a continuous project namely Langigarh Road to Ambagura which will eventually cover the entire KBK region in the State of Orissa. I would like to demand to make the SAMATA Express leaving Visakhapatnam for Nizzamuddin daily. I demand for a air-conditioned maintenance unit at Rayagada under S.E. Railway. Conflicting reports are to be read in papers that the CAO office will be shifted from Bhubaneswar if it is true then this move should be stopped immediately and more allocation be provided for making the new zone more vibrant and the on-going projects to be completed. I demand to make the Puri-Ahmedabad Express daily via Visakhapatnam. Also a rail cum road bridge should be constructed in between Titlagarh and Kesinga.
SHRI S. MURUGESAN: My Parliamentary Constituency, Tenkasi is situated in between the big Municipal Corporation, Tirunelveli and most famous tourist spot Courtalam. The population here are mostly from backward and Scheduled and Scheduled Tribes. Due to the heavy traffic in this highway the level crossing in this route is closed frequently. People who are going for these two places are suffering due to the closure of the level crossing frequently. Already a team of officials visited the place and submitted a report in favour of my request. But till now no action is taken in this matter. I request the hon. Minister to consider my request and necessary orders may be passed for construction of an overbridge in the highway in between Tenkasi and Madurai. Conversion of meter gauge into broad gauge from Virudhunagar to Quilon and from Tenkasi to Triunelveli could not be started due to the meager allotment of funds. I request the hon. Minister to commence this conversion from Tenkasi and to allot more funds in order to complete this project at an early date. The existing Railway line in between Sankarankoli and Tenkasi may be diverted through Puliyangudi in order to provide the train facility to the people of Puliyangudi.
SHRI ADHIR CHOWDHARY : I would request this Government to allot more funds for the development of this sector. It provides employment to as many as 15.8 lakh people. Till now, 23.3 per cent of our Railway network has been electrified. However, no review on the results of electrification has, so far, been conducted. Privatisation has, already, been seeping into this sector. Would the hon. Railway Minister be able to withstand the onslaught of privatisation any more? Performs must be taken up so as to tone up all railway-related infrastructure, sophisticated signalling system , rolling stock and, strong safety measures. The Railway accidents have been increasing at an alarming rate. The Railways have received a plethora of recommendations, but these recommendations are not being implemented. The district of Murshidabad is world famous for its historical importance. If the railways are restored, then, the total economic scenario of my district could be changed. The Howrah Divisio and the Sealdah Division will be merged by simply extending the line by two kilometres. The safety measures should also be enhanced. Therefore, I would request the hon. Minister of Railways to develop Railways at par with all other developed countries in the world.
SHRI HARIBHAI CHAUDHARY : 75 per cent railway lines of Western Railway lie in Gujarat. But its Head office is situated at Mumbai due to which development work of railway in Gujarat is getting affected adversely. MPs of Gujarat have been demanding shifting of Western Railway Head office to Gujarat for the last several years but their demand has not been accepted so far. Gauge conversion work from Gandhidham to Palanpur is lying incomplete for the last several years. Railways have many assets which are lying unused such as its land is lying unused. It should be gain fully utilized. I say that assets which are not required by railways should be disposed of to earn money for the railways.
When waiting list for a train is more than 300 then Government should provide an extra coach so that more money is earned by Railways and passengers also do not face any inconvenience while reaching their destination. Frequent occurance of accidents in Railways is a serious matter.
There is great scope of expansion of railways but it is not earning expected profit due to corruption. Whenever we demand execution of any work by railways we are told that it does not have funds and because of this we find that several projects are being executed at very slow pace. Railways has started a train service from Palanpur to Haridwar but it has not provided its stoppage at Palanpur. Similarly, Ahmedabad-Delhi Rajdhani has no stoppage at Palanpur. I demand stoppage of these trains at Palanpur. Further Palanpur has no VIP quota. Therefore, provision of VIP quota of two tickets should be made in train No. 9708, 9707, 2916 and 2915. Palanpur railway station should be upgraded to 'A' category. It does not have any rack point for fertilizer causing great inconvenience to the farmers. Therefore, a rack point should be set up there.
SHRI RAMPAL SINGH: A demand for additional funds has been made in these Supplementary Demands for Grants for unmanned railway crossings which will help in augmenting passenger amenities. Gorakhpur to Gonda railway line being a singal line generally has a congestion of trains over it. I have been demanding since 1990-91 that this line be converted from meter gauge to broad gauge. Once this railway line is converted into a broad gauge rail line, it will provide an alternate railway line between Gorakhpur to Gonda and the people visiting from Nepal can come to this country by train. With this Budha Circuit Varanasi, Sarnath, Kapilvastu, Shilabasti will all fall along the broad gauge line and trains will start running to and fro from Budha Circuit. A survey of Gonda to Bahraich line has also been conducted and it becomes imperative to undertake gauge conversion of this railway line as well. It is very difficult to get reservation in first class compartment of Vaishali train. Therefore, we demand that a Rajdhani Express train be run from Gorakhpur to Delhi that may leave Gorakhpur on Fridays and Delhi on Sundays so that the passengers can travel comfortably. The capacity of the main platform of Basti railway station may be increased.
SHRI KANTILAL BHURIA : Dahod, Indore and Dewas-Maksi railway line's work is being executed in various stages. Although the Ministry had announced that this work would be completed within one or two years but this work has not been completed due to insufficient provision of funds in the budget of past years. Only Rs. 5 crore have been allocated in the budget of 1999-2000. The middle portion of this line passes through Indore, Dhar, Jhabua but no information has been provided about it. I want to know as to when the Ministry would start execution work of this portion. Meghnagar Railway Station of Ratlam under my Parlaimentary Constituency Jhabua is situated in the middle of Mumbai-Delhi railway line. Meghnagar is the only big station in tribal dominated district Jhabua but the present platform of this station is incapable to provide facilities to the passengers. The overhead shed at the station must be expanded and acute problem of drinking water should also be sold. Ahmedabad-Sabarmati Express from Faizabad leaves Thandla railway station at 24.03 hours and its down express leaves at 02.02 hours. It should have stoppage at Thandla road railway station for the convenience of passengers. Baroda-Dahod Memu train leaves Baroda at 10.45 hours and while returning it leaves Dahod at 16.10 hours for Baroda. This train should be extended upto Ratlam. Gorakhpur-Bandra express crosses Bamnia road railway station at 18.18 hours and down express passes through this station at 08.28 hours. These trains should have stoppage at Bamnia road. Indore-Bandra Avantika Super Fast train passes through Thandla road at 20.41 hours and its down train passes through this station at 04.43 hours. These trains should have stoppage at Thandla railway station.
Indore is a major industrial centre of Madhay Pradesh. At present we have Avantika Super Fast train from here for Bandra. Passengers have to face great inconvenience due to insufficient number sleeper berths available in this train. Therefore, another train should be introduced for the remaining passengers who want to travel from Indore to Bandra. Amritsar-Mumbai Frontier train passes through Meghnagar Railway Station at 20.30 hours and while returning it passes through this station at 05.20 hours. It should have stoppage at Meghnagar Railway Station. Jammu Tawi- Mumbai Super Fast train passes through Meghnagar at 09.00 hours and while returning it passes through this station at 17.00 hours. This train should have stoppage at Meghnagar Railway Station. Trivandrum-New Delhi Express should have stoppage at Ratlam Station because this station is an important station on New Delhi-Mumbai main railway line.
PROF.A.K. PREMAJAM: Manning the level crossings, upgrading the signal system and also constructing under bridge and over bridge are some of the measures that have to be taken into account while thinking in terms of safety measures . Unless the Finance Department gives equal importance to this major problem the hon. Minister will not be able to do this. The Railway should have got a better priority as far as the Road Fund is concerned. Regarding the manning of the level crossings and the construction of over-bridges and under-rbidges. I, myself have written a letter to the hon.Minister. But there is no reply at all! If this is the situation, how can one think in terms of any safety measures there? In the letter from the hon. Minister we were suggested about giving MPLAD fund for manning the unmanned level crossing. When I wrote to the Southern Railway authorities, I got a reply that the estimated cost would be Rs.27 lakh for constructing an overbridge? A lot of corruption charges is being reported in the newspapers about the Southern Railway authorities. I do not know about the other Railway zones. We want things to be done at the earliest. Over-bridge at Chorode has been a two-decade old problem. I would like the railway authorities to start the railway portion of the bridge at the earliest. Regarding Konkan Corporation, unless the doubling of Shornur-Mangalore region is completed it is of no use. In my constituency construction of one bridge has not yet taken off. Then, how can they have the doubling of lines? Then, electrification of Shornur-Mangalore sector is very important. There was a demand for a line from Tellicherry to Mysore. I hope the hon. Minister would take care of this important point. The stoppage at Badagara for Rajkot and Ahmedabab trains should be taken care of. The quality of food served in the trains- is very poor.
SHRI PAWAN KUMAR BANSAL: The Minister has drawn our attention to the enormity of the problem. There are 24,313 unmanned level crossings in the country today. I would like the hon. Minister to tell us as to what are her plans to meet the renewed requirements of the Railways. A few days back the hon. Prime Minister referred to some corporatisaton of railways. I do not know as to what are the Government's plans thereon. But I would like the hon. Minister to take the House into confidence and to spell out the Government's policy thereon as also what does the Government feel because Railways are the major carriers of important commodities. The rail services to Chandigarh are not adequate. A city like this should be very well connected with all parts of the country. I think Railway today is not a social service. It is a requirement. To meet the needs of the people, there is an imperative and an immediate need to have another Himalayan Queen between Chandigarh and Delhi or another Janata train. There is also the need to connect Chandigarh to the South. You have a weekly train upto Hazrat Nizamuddin which could very well be extended further up to Chandigarh. I would urge the hon. Minister to extend some trains from Ambala to Chandigarh as has been done in the case of the Paschim Express. There is a long pending demand of a train from Chandigarh to Haridwar and to the North-East.
SHRI RAGHUNATH JHA: Inadequate funds are being provided for various schemes sanctioned for Bihar, be it for laying of new railway lines, gauge conversion, doubling of lines, electrification or for constructing railway bridges and/or over bridges. Sitamarhi-Muzaffarpur railway line was sanctioned in our area. I do not know whether I will be able to undertake a rail journey to that area in my life time. There are new railway lines and projects like Fataha-Islampur Rajgir- Hisua-Tillaiya, Arah-Sasaramm, Rajgir- Islampur, Daniyawan- Biharshafief- Sheikhpura, Khagual-Punpun- Daniyawan, Manderhil- Rampur Hat via Dumka, Devgarh-Sultanganj, Patna Ganga railway bridge, a rail-cum-road bridge over Mungyer-Ganga Shagaria-Kusheshwarsthan, Daronda-Maharajgan, Sakri-Hasanpur-Barauni, Muzaffarpur-Meenapur-Sheohar- Piparadi-Belwaghat- Daka-Motihari,Bagaha-Chhitauni, satimarhi-Sonbarsa- Bhithamorh-Jainagar, Hazipur-Sugauli via Vaishali , Dehri to Gadhva, Sasaram to Bhabhua via China, Supaul-Triveniganj,-Jadia-Bhargama-Raniganj-Araria, and funds as meagre as rupees 5 lakh for some schemes Rs.2 lakh for others and Rs.10 lakhs for yet other schemes have been provided. I am afraid whether these projects can ever be completed with this meagre amount.
Jainagar-Darbhanga-Narkatiaganj, Mansi-Saharsa-Forbesganj, Captanganj- Thave-Sivan-Chhapra, Katihar-Jogbani, Mansi-Samastipur, Darbhanga Nirmali, Jhanjharpur-Lokha railway lines should have been taken up for gauge conversion. Sonnagar-Mugalsarai, Patna-Parsa Bazar, Parsa Bazar- Punpun, Punpun-Tarengna, Tarengna-Gaya, Sahibganj-New farakkha-Maldah, Chhapra-Hazipur, Karpurigram-Sihu, Kishan ganj, Dalkolha, Kiool-Gaya, Kiool-Kajara, Barauni-Katihar, Kiool-Badaharva via Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur to Gorakhpurand Darbhanga to Narkatiaganj railway lines should be taken up for doubling puroses. Further more railway over bridges should be constructed in Deedarganj on Patna by-pass , in Fatuha, near Chukti between Maheshkhut and Mansi, at Poorab along Bhagalpur railway station and reconstruction and widening of Chiraiya Tand railway bridge in Patna , construction of railway over bridge in Meethapur on Patna-Gaya section, another over bridge near Hazipur, another one on national Highway No.28 in Motihari one in Saharsa Panchgathia , Kishanganj alongwith a railway under bridge near Karauta should be constructed.
SHRI RANEN BARMAN: We know that both the Government and the Ministry have failed to sanction sufficient fund for the over all development of railway. Only 15 per cent railway lines have been completed after 50 years of independence and so many areas in India have no link with railway lines. After 52 years of independence there is not even a metre long railway line in my area. The survey for Eklakhi Balurghat project was completed in 1984. But the Railway Ministry could not lay the 90 kms. railway line even after 16 years. Sufficient fund should be provided to complete this long pending work. I also draw the attention of our hon. Minister to the urgent demand of making the hanging bridge in Radhikapur for use by the local people. The people of North and South Dirajpur have to travel to far off places like Chennai for medical treatment. So I demand that there should be some quota from railway for the smooth travel to other area to get medical treatment. There is an alarming rise in railway accidents. Dacoities are happening very often in this train. So effective steps must be taken to combat these dacoities. If a pantry car is connected in Farakka Express, passengers will be benefited. People travelling by Gaur Express from this area face immense difficulty for late running. I request the authorities to look into it.
SHRI CHHATTRAPAL SINGH: The hon. Minister of Railways have paid special attention towards the safety and security aspect in view of the railway accidents which took place in recent past. These accidents have take place in absence of proper maintenance in railways. Special attention should be paid towards it. The existing outdated lines should be replaced by new lines. There is no proper arrangement in railways for sanitation. Besides, drinking water facilities should also be improved. We get milk at cheaper rates than the water.
The railway track between Delhi-Lucknow should be doubled and it should also be electrified. There are many places in Uttar Pradesh which are neither linked with Lucknow nor with Delhi by railway. Similarly, my constituency is not linked directly by railway with Lucknow or Delhi. Bulandshahar can be linked with Lucknow by Farukha Malda. No development work has been taken up by railway at Bulandshahar junction or nearby districts for last 20-25 years. A shuttle train should be started from Bulandshahar.
Rs. one crore was allocated for conducting a survey when Sh. Paswan was Minister. At least Rs.20 crore should be allocated for this purpose during the next budget.
Delhi is most troubled by the menace of congestion and environmental pollution. Delhi should be linked by railway with the suburbs which are within the radius of 100 km. in order to ease out the congestion of this city.
SHRI KISHAN LAL DILER : An overbridge was sanctioned at railway crossing No. 95 under Hathras Junction in 1996. An amount of Rs. 8 crore and 50 lakh was sanctioned for this purpose. The State Government has also sanctioned the amount of its share. Now, when the budget has been sanctioned from both sides, why this work is being delayed. Hathras junction is far away from Hathras city. Hathras city has railway station also and it is a famous market of traders. People of this area have a demand. An EMU running from Delhi to Aligarh makes its night halt at Aligarh. It should make night halt at Hathras city and it should start in the morning from Hathras to Delhi via Aligarh thereby giving much convenience to the people of this area. Barauni Express starts from Delhi Junction and makes halt at Tundla. If this train makes halt at Hathras then it would be much convenient for the people of the area. Barauni Express should have stoppage at Hathras Junction in the interest of people.
SHRIMATI JAYABEN B. THAKKAR : I thank the Hon. Minister for taking the most needed decision to man 185 unmanned level crossings throughout the country. I think unmanned level crossings are one of the major causes of railway accidents. As a result of this decision, number of rail accidents can be contained.
People of my Parliamentary Constituency Baroda have been making this demand for the last 12 years. Shiaji Nagri Express is the only train from Baroda which starts in time and helps the office goers to reach their offices in Mumbai timely. The Ministry has decided to extend this train upto Gandhidham. This decision has adversely affected the residents of Baroda. Sentiments of Vadodara residents are attached to Shiaji Nagar so I demand that this decision should be reconsidered and keeping in view the sentiments of the people of my Parliamentary
SHRI G.PUTTASWAMY GOWDA: Railways play a vital role in strengthening the economy of any country. But unfortunately these days its administration and efficiency is coming down to the lowest ebb. It is incurring losses and people are also put to all kinds of difficulties. Constraint of funds is also one of the reasons. Discipline has to be inculcated among the officials.
Vast railway land has been encroached by private parties. Ragarding this matter, the concerned Committee has already given its Report. In Karnataka, 26 new projects have been taken up and they are pending for the last 10 to 15 years. Sufficient funds have to be allocated to complete these pending projects. So that the fruits of these projects could reach the people as early as possible. There are no doctors in several railway hospitals. The hon. Minister should muster the courage and post doctors in all these railway hospital with immediate effect.
DR. SANJAY PASWAN: I would like to congratulate the hon.Minister of Railways for the efforts she has put in the development of Railways. I would submit that Keul-Gaya railway station in Danapur division is not receiving the desired attention of the department. That area is a bastion of naxalite movement. If an express train is introduced in that area and also the doubling of the track is taken up, terrorism and naxalism in Central Bihar can effectively be checked. I may point out that the infrastructure of Jamalpur railway workship is adequate and keeping in view its capacity, many retrentched employees can be reinstated. Hence, it should be revived. As regards appointment of rail travel agents, no reservaton has been provided for SCs/STs and weaker sections of the sections of the society. This aspect should also be taken care of.
I also submit that office fibre communication line may be started in Keul-Gaya railway section without further delay. Further, Navada railway station situated in the middle of this section should be declared as a model station. A new train from Samastipur, where the divisional office of Eastern Railway is situated, to Guwahati may be introduced. Diesel workshop may also be commissioned there at the earliest. Besides, a new train from Darbhanga terminal to Guwahati may also be introduced.
SHRI KODIKUNNIL SURESH : The Kerala State is trailing far behind when compared to other States as far as the development of the railway sector is concerned. Kerala State may be declared as a railway zone in order to meet the needs of the State. Though we were given an assurance by the Railway Ministry that a railway factory would be installed in Kerala, it has not yet been fulfilled. The work on the doubling of Shoranur-Mangalore line has been going at a very slow pace because of inadequate funds. I would request the hon. Minister to allocate sufficient fund for the completion of the doubling of Shornur-Mangalore line and doubling of Ernakular-Kottayam-Kayankulam and Alapuzha-Kayankulam lines in the next Budget. The electrification of the Ernakulam-Trivandrum line also should be completed as early as possible. The hon. Minister is requested to give necessary preference to installing Angamali-Erumeli-Sabraimala railway line. The work on this line could be expedited only if there is a corporation. The Chennai-Kollam meter gauge line is converted into broad gauge, the tourism and industrial sector of Kerala and Tamil Nadu will be benefited.
SHRI CHANDRA PRATAP SINGH: The Lalitpur-Singrauli railway line should be linked with Marwas Jowa Station. The passenger train from Chirmari to Bilaspur should be extended upto Raipur. One of its coaches should be reserved upto Gevra Station. Vishrampur railway line should be linked with Manendragarh-Boridand line near Chaugara Gram. Rajdhani Express should be run from Katni to Bilaspur, Raipur or upto Delhi via Raipur to Anooppur.
SHRI LAL BIHARI TIWARI: The railways has undergone for reaching reforms under the leadership of Kumari Mamata Banerjee. She has formulated multi-dimensional schemes pertaining to railway safety for the next ten years for which she deserves congratulations. Railway halts should be constructed with immediate effects at Nand Nagari and Dharmpuri. Special attention should be paid to expedite the work of construction of metro rail in Delhi so that this project is completed within the stipulated time. In the second phase of metro rail there is a scheme to construct this line from Tis Hazari to Nangloi, Barwala and University Campus to Holambi which should be extended upto Narela. A metro rail should be run from Shahdara to Anand Vihar Highway No.24 via Nizamuddin Bridge upto New Delhi Railway Station. The Anand Vihar Railway Station should be connected with the main reservation office and the I.S.B.T. Beautification of the Narela and Azadpur Railway Stations should be undertaken. There is also need to construct over bridges at Bakner Holambi and Bawana railway crossings. The work of constructing a railway bridge at Swatantranagar in Narela should be expedited. A passenger train should be run on the double line running from Azadpur railway station to Vazirpur industrial area, Ashok Vihar, Keshevpuram, Daya Basti to Old Delhi and New Delhi Stations.
SHRI SHYAM BIHARI MISHRA: I convey my thanks to the N.D.A. Government under the leadership of Hon. Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Hon.Mamata Banerjee for bringing changes in the railway department. A passenger train was running from Anwarganj to Bithur of Kanpur city. The railway department is planning to discontinue it but I would like to suggest in this regard that this train should not be continued. Direct trains should be introduced from Kanpur to Delhi, Jammu, Banglore and Chennai. More coaches must be added in Gorakhpur-Cochin Express. Pushpak Express and Avadh Express from Kanpur-Unchahar Express may be extended to Jammu.Four more bogies must be added in this train. Kanupr Dehat is a new district. There is no railway line Sare should be nmade main station of Kanpur Dehat. Muri Express should be halted at Sara for two minutes. Panki should be developed as suburban station of Kanpur. I would like to thank railway department for granting approval for an over bridge. The bridge connecting the southern part of Kanpur should be widened and three more bridges should be constructed. The railway land is lying unused in Kanpur city. This should be given on rent or should be sold to Kanpur Development Authority.
SHRI RAM NARESH TRIPATHI: Mamataji has done commendable job regarding railways in the country. Several trains have been introduced and speed of several trains has also increased. A scheme has been formulated to lay new rail lines. Mahakaushal area in Madhya Pradesh is very backward area and rail facilities are not available there. The gauge conversion work has not been started on line from Nagpur to Nainpur due to paucity of funds. If the meter gauge line from Chhindwara to Nainpur and Chhindwara to Siwni is converted to broad gauge than the entire Mahakaushal area would be connected with broad gauge. The survey work of line from Ramtek to Goregaon has already been completed. Funds should be provided for this work. A demand has been made since long to introduce direct train from Jabalpur to Delhi. The work of gauge conversion from Gondia to Jabalpur is going on very slowly. The survey work from Balaghat to Jabalpur line should be conducted immediately. I congratulate the hon'ble Railway Minister for introducing Rajkot Express from Jabalpur . This train must be stopped for five minutes at Goregaon. A single bridge on Vagara Tawa Nadi and middle road river on Jabalpur Itarsi route should be made double. The facility of computerise reservation should be provided at Siwani.
SHRI SUBODH ROY : The better sanitation facilities at big railway stations and the stations located near religious places must be provided. These supplementary demands reflect the negligent attitude of the Government towards Bihar. The laying of new rail lines, construction and repairing of bridges and renovation of stations have not been mentioned in these demands. The trains have not been started so far from Sahebganj to Jamalpur and Sialdah to Mughalsarai after devastation by recent flood. It should be ensured that the DMU trains from Sahebganj to Kiul must run on time and the number of these trains should be increased. The Jamalpur Howrah Superfast Express should be run at the earlier time. Bhagalpur Intercity Express should be halted at Akbarnagar and Brahmputra Mail must be halted at Sultanganj. The Rajdhani Express should be run to Sialdah and Howrah via Bhagalpur for two days during a week.
SHRI VIJAY KUMAR KHANDELWAL: In my Parliamentary constituency only 6 Legislative Assemblies are connected by rails. Most of the population depend on railways here. I have written a number of letters to Railways requesting for provision of halts at Railway stations, however, no steps have been taken in this regard. The stations which do have not have halts of trains are Timarani, Harda and Khirakiya under Bhopal division and Ghododongari and Multai lying on Itarasi-Mumbai route under Nagpur division. I urge upon railways to provide for halts of trains at these stations.
Baitul station is a major railway station which do not have computerised reservation centre. This facility should be provided here. STD booths should be set up at Baitul, Ghododongari, Amla, Multai and Harda railway stations.
Again, I request to make provision for halts of trains at these stations and my other suggestions should also be taken into serious consideration. I support these Supplementary Demands.
SHRI BAHADUR SINGH KOLI: In my constituency, the narrow gauge line from Dhaulpur to Sarmathura may be converted into broad gauge and it may be extended upto Gangapur. The famous religious place, Karoli Mata Temple also falls on this line and around 20 lakh pilgrims from India and abroad congregate there twice a year. Bayana region is a large commercial centre of stone trading. However, due to non availability of a railway facility, the traders have to face a lot of problems. An E.M.U. Mathura Shuttle runs regularly from Delhi which reach Mathura junction at 20.30 hours, and remain stationed there. This train may be extended upto Bayana Junction via Bharatpur Junction, as platform facility for EMU trains is available at Bayana and Bharatpur.
YOGI ADITYA NATH: Even today most of the people of this country prefer to travel by train. Railway is the most suitable mode of transport from the security and environment points of view. The headquarters of the Eastern Railways is situated in Gorakhpur. A Rail Coach Factory was sanctioned for Gorakhpur in 1986 after the headquarters were shifted there. But that factory was shifted from Gorakhpur to elsewhere. Subsequently, some officers of the zonal headquarters at Gorakhpur were shifted to Bihar in 1996-97. No development work has been undertaken in Gorakhpur till date. The gauge conversion work of the railway line running from Gorakhpur to Narkatiaganj was undertaken in 1998-1999. Prior to gauge conversion a passenger train was run on that track which was closed for operation. The operation of this passenger train should be restarted in view of the wider public interest. A proposal of constructing an overhead-bridge in Dharamshala Bazar at Gorakhpur should be accorded sanction. I request that a duplicate Vaishali train be run from Gorakhpur to New Delhi.
SHRI K.K. KALIAPPAN: At the outset I would like to thank Dr. Puratchi Thalaivi our leader and the General Secretary of AIADMK who enabled me to represent the people of my constituency in this august House. I would like to bring to Hon. Minister's kind notice the mismanagement and inefficiency in the maintenance of cleanliness and sanitation in both passenger plantforms of Railway Stations and Goods Yards. The situation goes from bad to worse during the monsoon season is not maintained properly which calls for an active intervention of the authorities concerned. Abundant rat population there has given rise to large number of rate holes in and around the platform area. The rat menace has to be contained on a war footing. It has become the root cause of a rate related viral fever that has spread to Bangalore also. In the public interest, especially in the interest of hygiene and health, Railways must ensure cleanliness, sanitation and hygienic maintenance of Railway Stations and Goods Yards. In my Gobichettipalayam constituency, near Ooththukuli a railway bridge needs to be constructed. This has to be speeded up. Salthi-Samraj Nagar rail link project has been cleared but the works to implement the scheme have not commenced still. This work should be completed at the earliest.
SHRIMATI JAYASHREE BANERJEE: Today I rise to support the supplementary grants. Rajkot should be extended upto Katni-Damoh-Sagar. The Railzone to be constructed at the recommendation of Sarin Committee could not be constructed for lack of money. Funds should be increased for conversion of Godia-Nayan-Jabalpur gauge conversion. Itarsi-Jabalpur-Allahabad section should be doubled and electrified. In the absence of which transportation is becoming difficult. Amarkantak Express Bhopal-Durg should be run daily. 1449-1450 Jabalpur-Hajarat Nijamuddin should be run three days to Jammu and rest three days to Pathankot. 9305 Shipra Express between Howrah and Ujjain should be run upto Itarasi via Jabalpur for four days because from Jabalpur to Howrah there is no direct train except Bombay Mail. In Cochin-Hydrabad Express 7092 which is used by people going to Banglore coaches should be increased. 7090 Varanasi-Cochin Express does not have Pantry Car, A.C. III and coaches do not have connection. In Ganga-Kaveri Express 124 seat quota of Jabalpur has been connected with Itarasi. I request to shift it to Jabalpur. Superfast Express, Godwana Express, Mahakaushal and Chitrakut Express should be started from Madan Mahal Station. People of Itarasi, Jabalpur and Katni have to daily up and down. Therefore fast passenger should be extended upto Katni. A fast train should be run between Jabalpur and Nagpur. In the end I support the small-small demands through Supplementary Demands of Grants.
DR. RAGHUVANSH PRASAD SINGH: I support the Supplementary Demands and the schemes presented in the House. I support all the demands for new rail lines or broad gauge or improvement in facilities. Railways got 3600 crore rupees budgetary support and Bihars population is one -tenth of the country so Bihar should have got 360 that is one-tenth but it got 40 crore only. Hajipur-Vaishali-Sugauti rail line will complete Buddist circuit but it has not been constructed yet. In 2001 Bhagwan Mahabirs 126th anniversary is going to be celebrated and in the name of Bhagwan Mahabir a train should be started and Vaishali should be connected by rail. Hajipur should be made the zonal headquarter. Porters should be given the forth class status. Mamataji is propoor. Therefore, this demand of the porters should be accepted. For porters rest houses should be constructed with the facility of water. For parcel contract system should be abolished. All over the country railway porters should be given this useful task.
DR. C. KRISHNAN: I thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to speak in the discussion on the Supplementary Demands for Grants of the Railways for the year 2000-2001. I also support the Supplementary Demands for Grants of the Railways. About a year ago I had requested the hon. Minister to convert the Coimbatore-Dindigul railway line via Pollachi, from metre gauge to broad gauge. This conversion will earn good revenue for the Railways and the people of southern part of Tamil Nadu will have an easy link to other parts of Tamil Nadu. We have a very important pilgrimage centre, Palani, Toslip Wildlife Sanctuary, many dams like Thirumurthi Dam, Amaravati Dam etc. They are all very important tourist centres. So, I would request the hon. Railway Minister to convert the railway line from Pothanur in Coimbatore District to Dindigul from metre gauge to broad gauge immediately so as to satisfy the longstanding demand of the people of my constituency.
SHRI SHANKAR PRASAD JAISWAL : I am representing the Varanasi Constituency since 11th, 12th and 13th Lok Sabha. As per my experience I can say that the works done by hon. Mamataji are laudable. She has provided jobs to those unemployed youths who were idle from many years. Whatever, I have written in regard to railways, she not only replied but also taken action in regard thereto. For this I thank her on behalf of the people of Varanasi. I request the hon. Mamataji to introduce a direct train from Delhi to Varanasi during the day time and from Varanasi to Delhi. The people of Kasi will remain grateful to her for this act of magnanimity.
DR. C. KRISHNAN: I thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to speak in the discussion on the Supplementary Demands for Grants of the Railways for the year 2000-2001. I also support the Supplementary Demands for Grants of the Railways. About a year ago I had requested the hon. Minister to convert the Coimbatore-Dindigul railway line via Pollachi, from metre gauge to broad gauge. This conversion will earn good revenue for the Railways and the people of southern part of Tamil Nadu will have an easy link to other parts of Tamil Nadu. We have a very important pilgrimage centre, Palani, Toslip Wildlife Sanctuary, many dams like Thirumurthi Dam, Amaravati Dam etc. They are all very important tourist centres. So, I would request the hon. Railway Minister to convert the railway line from Pothanur in Coimbatore District to Dindigul from metre gauge to broad gauge immediately so as to satisfy the longstanding demand of the people of my constituency.
SHRI C.P. RADHAKRISHNAN : I thank the Minister of Railways for introducing a `new millennium train' called `Kongu Express' from Coimbatore to Nizamuddin. It is a `new millennium train' without any new coaches. All the coaches are so old that there are no proper pipe connections. There is no pantry car with that train. Kindly take care of this aspect.
I would request to provide a broad-gauge line from Coimbatore to Dindigul at the earliest. I want to bring to your kind attention that the double-lining has not taken place from Irgur to Potthanur, Potthanur to Coimbatore, and from Coimbatore to Irugur in spite of our taking it up vigorously with the Minister of Railways. The double line has not been provided only for this triangular section. A Container Terminal is coming up at Irgur. But there is no double line only for a small portion. Last year, the allocation was Rs. 1 crore. But we have been told by the General Manager that the double-lining would be over by 2002. The hon. Minister should take care of this request.
There is no proper lighting at the Coimbatore railway junction which is a very famous place for textiles.
A lot of terrorist activities are taking place there. The railway canteen is run there by the terrorists and it is a hiding place for them. My request to her is to kindly look into this matter urgently. I would request for release of the emergency quota for the trains getting terminated at Coimbatore junction. I also request that the long-pending demand of my area for a new railway line between Chamraj Nagar-Sathi-Gobi-Tirppur-Dharapuram-Palani should be speeded up and completed at the earliest. Two or three road overbridges are also pending in my constituency. Kindly take up these road overbridge projects at the earliest.
SHRI HARIBHAU SHANKAR MAHALE : My Constituency, Malegaon has a population of 15 lakh. Manmad railway station is at a distance of about 35 Kms. Every day a large number of passengers commute from this station. It is, therefore, requested that a ticket counter should be opened here. Survey work of Manmad, Malegaon, Dhule and Jardana has already been completed therefore laying of new rail lines on this route should be undertaken. Kumbh mela will be held in Nasik in year 2003. Due to this the number of commuters would increase considerably. Therefore, the condition of Nasik Road railway station should be improved. There is a Rashtriya High school in Manmad for which land has been demanded from the Railways. I would request that railway land should be provided for this purpose.
Railway officials of Hyderabad had given an assurance to provide railway crossing in Kusmadi Tehsil. This should be provided as soon as possible. A train runs between Mumbai and Deogiri but it remains over crowded. There are only two general compartments in this train. It should be increased to three compartments. Nagpur-Mumbai Vidarbh train should be provided stoppage at Nayay-Dongra Tehsil-Nandgaon. Manmad is a big station and there is only one overbridge on it. Keeping in view the increasing population and crowd one more overbridge should be provided there.
Nasik city is an ancient, religions and industrial city. There is an air-craft factory and several other large industries are also there. There is only train Mumbai-Nasik-Panchvati. A new train should be introduced for Nasik. Nasik is a big station but reservation of AC-II class for Punjab Mail and other mail train are not available here. Therefore, this reservation facility should also be provided. Punjab Mail, Karnataka, Goa and other trains also pass through this station but there is no reservation facility under AC-II tier, III tier, second class for these trains. This should also be provided.
Old railway crossings need repair and improvement. While starting a railway line its economic feasibility should also be kept in mind. There is a famous rail factory at Manmad which require to be preserved.
SHRI RUPCHAND MURMU : I come from an area of adivasis. I want to draw the attention of our Hon. Railway Minister and the Central Government to the long pending rail-related demands of Scheduled Tribes of my region. I hope that Hon. Railway Minister will sympathetically consider the just demands of the adivasi area and try to fulfil the demands.
The first demand from this area is construction of a flyover bridge. The flyover bridge is to be constructed at the level crossing on the main road of Jhargram. I hope that the Hon. Minister will consider sympathetically this important demand and see that the flyover bridge is constructed.
I also demand to start local train for Tata-Kharagpur and Khargpur-Tata. This will help the passengers to reach office in time in Calcutta and will be able to return back home also timely. The daily passengers include State and Central Government employees, teachers, students and many lady commuters also. Keeping in view the urgency of the people, I hope the demand for starting the local trains will be sympathetically considered. I also demand to have stoppage at Jhargram for Puri-New Delhi and Neelanchal Express trains. Many people commute in these trains for traveling to Delhi. But they have to board the train at Kharagpur for both up and down journey. I also demand to start Railway Health Unit in Jhargram.
The survey for Jhargram Purulia rail line has also been completed. The demand for railway line between Jhargram and Purulia must be fulfilled because it is a just demand of the adivasis of this area. So fund should be provided at the earliest. Nimpur is a halt station on Tata-Kharagpur line. But there is no ticket counter in the station. People in this area are forced to travel often without tickets because of non-availability of tickets. It is a punishable offence. If a ticket counter starts functioning immediately here then the railway gets its revenue and the people will also have smooth and less hazardous journey.
DR. RAM KRISHNA KUSMARIA : There is great scarcity of railway facilities in my Constituency. Therefore following trains should be introduced keeping in view the facilities of the passengers. Rajkot Express train terminates at Bhopal. It should be run via Bina-Sagar-Damoh routes. Mahamaya Superfast Express train runs in parts from Jabalpur and Nagpur. This train should be run wholly and solely between Jabalpur and Delhi. Sambhalpur-Heerakund Express train runs thrice a week. It should be run daily. Indore-Howrah Shipra Express train also runs thrice a week. It should be run daily. A new train is proposed to be run from Ahmedabad to Howrah. The people of Bundelkhand have been demanding that a train be run from Ahmedabad to Bhopal via Bina-Sagar-Damoh-Katni upto Howrah.
Sanction has been accorded for conducting survey of the following railway lines but this survey work has either not been commenced or is in progress or the report has been submitted to the Ministry of Railways and the Railway Board but no further action has been taken. Survey work has been sanctioned for Raipur to Baloda Bazar Sargadh Jhadsakuda. It is yet to be conducted. Survey work of Ramtek to Gotegaon line is complete. Construction work should be undertaken. Preliminary survey of Jabalpur to Panna via Damoh-Panna railway line has been completed. Further necessary action may be taken. Necessary orders may be issued for gauge conversion of the rail lines between Nainpur and Nagpur. Electrification of Indore to Ujjain rail route should be undertaken at the earliest. Rail reservation quota of Gawalior should be restored. An express train between Gwalior and Indore via Guna should be introduced. It should be run in the night. A local train between Bilaspur and Raipur was announced to be introduced but it was not yet been introduced. This train should be introduced at the earliest. A local train should also be introduced between Bhopal and Bina. An inter-city train should be introduced between Gwalior and Bhopal. Ahmedabad-Howrah train should be run via Bhopal, Vidisha, Bina and Katni. MEMU train should be introduced between Kota and Nagda via Ratlam.
Keeping in view the problems being faced by the people of Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh states the above demands should be fulfilled at the earliest and necessary steps should be taken to get these works done
DR. M.P. JAISWAL: I support supplementary demands of grants for 2000-2001. I thank Mamataji for sending the senior officers of railways on leave after train accident in Punjab. Ircon is a department of the railway ministry. In 1996-97 budget Rs.22 crore was allocated for Bagaha-Chhitauni bridge construction. Ircon submitted a tender for completing it in March 2000. At the present rate it will take many years to complete. Who will bear the loss for delay. Narkatiaganj and Muzaffarpur rail line was converted into broad gauge. There a passenger train goes for Muzaffarpur at 8.10 a.m. and another at 6 p.m. In between there is no train. People of my constituency trouble me that you cannot run a train. I request the express train run in between should be converted into a passenger train for the five stations. This will provide a big relief to the people of my constituency. In the absence of level crossing at Shitalpur Dhal 17 persons were killed by trolley. I am prepared to release Rs. 10 lakh from my MPLADS fund for construction of level crossing so it should be sanctioned.
SHRI RAMESHWAR DUDI: Bikaner is a divisional railway headquarter but this is a backward district. There was a steam engine workshop here when these engines were in operation. This workshop should be converted into diesel engine workshop. I have to make a demand that a new train should be introduced for Bikaner-Guwahati. A new train should also be started between Bikaner and Chennai. The train from Jodhpur to Bikaner should be extended up to Ahmedabad. There is a inter-city train from Bikaner to Jaipur. Our demand in this regard should be fulfilled. In my constituency, 35-40 railway unmanned crossing may be manned which would provide relief to the people. Gauge conversion of Bikaner-Rewari may be executed expeditiously. Jodhpur-Chennai train which runs once a week should be started from Bikaner. Bhatinda train No.1-BSL and 2-BSL should be extended from Bikaner to Medata Road. Newly developed colonies of Indira Gandhi Canal projects should be linked from Anupgarh to Jaisalmer, from Anupgarh to Bikaner from Anupgarh to Delhi. A new train service should be provided for a stretch of 65 km from Bikaner to Nokha. An inter-city train should be started between Bikaner and Delhi. A train from Nokha to Jaipur via Sikar should be started. At newly developed mandis Raisingh Nagar first Fojuwala-Mohan Nagar and 12-TK of Raisingh Nagar railway crossings should be provided. A survey has been conducted in regard to Kolayat-Falaudi broad-gauge line-Kolayat-Falaudi route and defence has also given its approval in this regard and they are ready to provide for budget in this regard but the Ministry of Railway have not given its sanction so far. Railway reservation facility should be provided at Lalgarh Railway station. All major trains from Bikaner start from Lalgarh, however, chart etc. are put at Bikaner station. All these trains should reach Bikaner via by-pass. It would be very convenient for the people of Bikaner. A broad-gauge canal loop line should be constructed from Swaroopsar (Raisingh Nagar) to Sri Ganga Nagar. Over-bridges and under bridges should be constructed at Bikaner. They should be constructed expeditiously. The businessmen send their goods from Anupgarh to South. However, there is a great scarcity of goods-wagons. Hence, the number of wagons be increased. A halt of Bikaner-Bandra superfast train should be provided at Deshnok which contribute Rs.two lakh per month as revenue to Railways. .
SHRI BRAHMA NAND MANDAL : I support the points raised by Shri Raghunath Jha, Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and Shri Sanjayji in regard to Bihar. Rs. 600 crore was allocated for Ganga bridge to be built at Munger and Rs. 2 crore was allocated for survey of this work. But I am sorry to say that 15 per cent amount has been slashed down out of Rs. 2 crore. The survey work for this bridge has been going on for the last seven years but even Rs. 2 crore has not been utilized. I, therefore, would like to urge upon the Railway Minister to speed up this work. Whenever there is hurdle in completion of the work, that should be removed so that this work could be completed atleast in 10 years. if the pace of the work is not accelerated the project is doomed to undergo a cost overrun. It becomes imperative to fix a time schedule in order to complete the work of a project. Besides, a clearance should be sought from the Cabinet Committee on Economic before commencing the work.
Jamalpur work shop was is renowned workshop in Asia. The strength of the workers of this workshop has shrinked to a mere 8000 to 9000. During 1998-99 a budgetary provision was made for the rapairing of Box-wagon and for POH works. Presently, not even a hundred Box-wagons are being repaired due to decreasing man power. I would like to request the hon'ble Minister that besides making the budgetary provisions work should be expedited to enhance the capacity of this workshop for repair of 900 Box-wagons per year along with POH works. The work of doubling of railway line between Kajra and Kiul has almost been completed but for a 17-18 Kms. stretch which causes a lot of difficulties. Therefore, I submit that work of doubling of the rail line should be completed at the earliest. The work of electrification of the railway track from Howrah and Sitarampur to Danapur via Kiul is nearing completion. There is also a need for electrification of the loopline between Sahebganj and Kiul. A need to repairing electric engines in Jamalpur workshop may also arise. Therefore, there is a need to expedite the work of electrification thereof.
SHRI GIRDHARI LAL BHARGAVA: Railway Board is rquested to grant its sanction so that North-West Zone may be established in Jaipur. The gauge conversion project of Agra-Bandikui rail line in Rajasthan should be completed on priority basis. Gandhinagar is the most important suburban railway station. So, if all the trains are stopped at this station, people will be benefited besides the pressure of passengers on Jaipur station will be eased. Durgapur is an important suburban railway station of Jaipur on Kota-Mumbai line. Therefore, arrangements should be made immediately for the stoppage of Jaipur-Mumbai superfast and Jaipur-Madras express trains at Durgapur. Besides, announcement should also be made for the stoppage of trains passing through Jagatpura at this station. It is also requested that announcement should be made for the stoppage of Jodhpur-Delhi via Jaipur Intercity Express and Jodhpur- Varanasi trains so that the biggest market of this area may again be connected with the markets of Delhi and U.P. and thousands of workers may get travel facility and daily commuters for Jaipur may get a day train. Naraina city is a famous religious place which is visited round the year by the followers of Dadupanth and people from Sikh community. It is also a religious place for Jainis. Therefore, two minutes stopping of train numbers 9105 and 9106 running between Delhi and Ahmedabad is very necessary at Naraina Railway Station. Vanasthali Vidyapeeth is an important centre of education. Therefore, the stoppage of train at Vanasthali is also necessary. Bhiwadi is one of the fast growing industrial towns in N.C.R. region. At present Bhiwadi does not line on the rail map of India. Therefore, it should be link with rail service. The construction of a bridge at Jaipur-Ganganagar meter gauge line by railway board is proposed. Likewise the construction of an over bridge by railway board is also proposed at Shivdaspur and Newai near Sitapur Industrial Area at Jaipur-Kota National Highway. These over bridges should be constructed. The Haridwar bound train from Jaipur reaches at Jaipur at 3.30 a.m. and that too once in a week. Therefore, the Government is requested to change the time of the train at Jaipur. Besides, a direct rail service should be initiated from Jaipur to Gorakhpur, Guwahati, Trivendrum and Chandigarh.
SHRI RAMDAS ATHAWALE: The Khalasi labour ensure railway safety and strengthen the network. They continue to be on the rolls of casual labourers for 10-15 years. There is need to make them permanent employees. A bullet-train should be run between Mumbai and Delhi so that the passengers can travel from Mumbai to Delhi in 5-6 hours. Her Ministry had allocated a sum of Rs.225 crore for converting the meter-gauge line in my constituency Pandarpur-Karwadi into a broad-gauge line. This work of gauge conversion has been completed. There is need to allocate at least Rs.500 crore for the Pandarpur-Latur and Pandarpur-Meerut projects.
SHRI SURESH CHANDEL: During the 53 years of independence work on the only track in Himachal Pradesh was initiated in 1973. A mere 16 kms. of this track was constructed in the last 25 years. I am afraid that it may take a whole century to complete the construction of the rest of 80 kms. of this track. Additional funds should be provided for this purpose so that the work can be expedited. There has been a long-standing demand for running a train between Una and Haridwar. No attention was paid to it even after conducting a couple of surveys. There is need to add an A.C. coach to Himachal Express- the only train running between Una and Delhi. 50 berths have been reserved for Himachal in this train. There is need to enhance that quota. Construction of a track from Bhanupalli to Bilaspur will facilitate passenger traffic and the carriage of cement.
SHRI VIRENDRA KUMAR: In my constituency the railway has completed the work of its part but the State Government has not started work of the remaining part so far. Bhopal-Rajkot train via Itarasi is running at present thrice a week. It should be run thrice a week via Jabalpur Katani, Damoh, Sagar, Beena, Bhopal and Rajkot. Mahamaya Express should start from Jabalpur itself. In my parliamentary constituency the stopage of Pathankot Express at Karonda station, Utkal Express at Shahpur station and Sadan Express at Mandi Bamora station should be given. The construction of a platform having no junction is vey necessary . The work of raising the platforms at Jaruakhera, Nariavali and Shahpur stations and construction of a shad should be done immediately. An E.M.U. train should be introduced from Beena to Damoh via Damoh Sagar, Beena for the facility of daily commuters. An over bridge at Shahpur station should be constructed. Ticket booking facility should be started at Dangidpur station. A new rail line should be constructed from Sagar to Nagpur via Devari. The passenger train running between Bhopal and Bilaspur should be extended upto Raipur the capital of Chhatisgarh. Likewise the passenger train running between Beena and Katani should be extended upto Jablapur. Chhipra Express running between Indore and Howrah and Heerakund Express running between Nizamuddin and Sambhalpur should be run daily. The time of train running between Been and Itarasi should be rescheduled. Amarkantak Express running between Bhopal and Durg should be run thrice a week via Sagarpur. A new Rajdhani Express should be introduced from Raipur to Delhi via Bilaspur-Katni-Sagar and Beena. The propsed train from Ahmedabad to Howrah should be run via Baroda ,Bhopal, Beena, Sagar, Katani and Satna.
SHRI DALPAT SINGH PARSTE: Chandia station should be modernised and Sarnath Express should be stopped here. Likewise Sambhalpur Express should be stopped at Damaria Railway Station and quota should be fixed for this station. The platforms at Narojabad Railway Station should be raised and over bridge should be constructed here. The platforms of passenger railway station should be raised at Pali, Sarnath Express should be stopped here and a quota for this station should be fixed. The stoppage of Shaktipunj Express should be given at Damoh and Vijayslota stations and the railway stations should be modernised. Byohari stations should be modernised . Reservation centre at Shahdol railway station should be computerised and quota for this station should be increased in all passenger trains. Sarnath Express should be stopped at Budhar station. A new passenger train should be introduced from Raipur to Gorakhpur. Overbridges at Anooppur and Kotma should be constructed. An over bridge should also be constructed at Bijuri. Utkal Express should be stopped at Jaitahari railway station. The section of Anooppur- Bilaspur rail line which has not been doubled should be doubled.
DR. N. VENKATASWAMY : The Hon. Railway Minister has given many things to so many States but I am sorry to mention that her benevolence has not reached fully to Andhra Pradesh in general and Royalseema in particular. Royalseema is a very backward region in all resppect and that has been neglected by the successive Governments. In spite of the fact that this has valuable minerals and mines in abundance like marble, granites, other ores, there was no infrastructure. Therefore, the gauge conversion from Tirupati to Kathapadi is an essential infrastructure. It was thought of 30 years back. Technical clearance was given in 1980 and the execution of the work was started in 1992-93. But it is still in the initial stage. Gauge conversion from Tirupati to Kathpadi may be completed at least end by December, 2001. The gauge conversion between Dharma-Vanum to Palkol may also be taken up early. The doubling of railway lines from Guntakul to Penogunta has also to be completed. This will help the industry, the people and the railways also. Another doubling from Gudur to Renigunta has to be completed early. In view of the backwardness of the Royalseema, there is imperative need to have a new railway line from Anantapur to Erraguntala in Cuddaph district. There is a need to stop Nav Jiwan Express at Sulurpet Railway Station.
PROF. RASA SINGH RAWAT: Railways constitute the arteries and veins of the country through which flows the blood of national unity. In order to prevent the occurrence of accidents, there is need to provide manned railway crossings throughout the country. A unigauge system should be adopted across the length and breadth of the country. The doubling of the broad-gauge line between Delhi-Ahmedabad via Jaipur-Ajmer should be undertaken so that the train run with optimum speed on this track reducing the time taken in the journey. Work should soon be commenced on Ajmer-Pushkar rail line in order to complete it in time. An A.C. coach should be added to Delhi-Ahmedabad Mail-9901UP, 9902DN. The Delhi-Ahmedabad train should also be run on a broad-gauge line. Construction of Bandikui-Agra Fort broad gauge line should be expedited and the train known as Lok Express formerly should be run between Ahmedabad-Agra Fort via Ajmer-Jaipur. The capacity of Loco and carriage factories of Ajmer should be further increased and its operations enhanced in accordance with the necessities of a broad gauge line. The Ajmer-Bhilwar-Chittorh-Udaipur line should be converted into a broad gauge line without delay. Similarly, Udaipur-Veeramgaon-Ahmedabad and Fulera-Reengas-Rikri meter gauge line should also be converted into broad gauge. A survey should be conducted for linking Merhta Road to Pushker railway line. Another survey should be conducted to connect Ajmer with Kota via Kekari-Devali-Bundi rail line. A Railway Yatri Niwas should be constructed in Ajmer and the Byawar Kishangarh stations should be developed. A stoppage should be provided at Kishangarh and Byawar for the Ashram Express and other long distance trains as these constitute a hub of industrial and commercial activity. There is an urgent need of constructing an over bridge near railway station on Amangarh Road in Kishangarh. There is also need for providing 24 hour manned railway crossings at Lamana, Makreda, Danta-Nyara, Rajousi etc. in the Ajmer constituency. The unused Railway land in Ajmer should be put to commercial use. The Jammu Tawi-Jaipur train should be extended up to Ajmer. Ajmer should also be linked with Amritsar, Haridwar and Chennai railway lines. The repair of quarters and construction of roads and drains should be undertaken in Railway colonies. The quotas of Ajmer, Byawar, Kishangarh and Vinay Nagar should be increased.
THE MINISTER OF RAILWAYS (KUMARI MAMATA BANERJEE) replying to the debate said I thank hon'ble Members who have given very good suggestions. They have raised issues pertaining to their constituencies and their states. They have also raised national issues and spoke on safety and security aspects, new railway lines, projects and they have also given their views on the present condition of the Railways. At present I do not want to speak in detail about individual points raised regarding stations, projects and railways lines because it would take much time as every state, district and constituency has different problems. I do not want to say much but I want to cover some important points.
Railways have 16 lakh employees. We had to bear additional burden of Rs.7.5 thousand crores due to fifth pay commission. When I took charge of Railways, it didn't have any funds . It was in deficit but I have saved Rs.850 crores by taking austerity measures during the last 5 months. No other department has been able to achieve that much. Earlier minor accidents ocurring in zonal railway were not reported to the Railway Board but when I joined and studied C.A.G report I directed that even if a small bogie gets derailed its report should be registered and that is why now the number of accidents appear more. At present our priority is ensuring safety and security. When members demand new trains, I have no objection to such demands I would be very happy to accede to this demand but the problem is that first we should complete those projects which are lying incomplete for a long period. First, we should complete a project which may be new project or project involving doubling of track or electrification work or it may be Ganga bridge of Mungyer. For these works we need Rs 5000 crores. I cleared eleven projects during my tenure so far. I cleared one project from my State and I am often charged that I am doing everything for my state only. I gave one project to Bengal whereas Andhra Pradesh was given two projects Tamil Nadu was also given two projects. Aren't Sultangarh, Devgarh projects in Bihar? I have cleared these projects also. I have no intention to deprive any state. So it is not correct to say that I have not given anything to Bihar. Bihar was given Rs.255.242 crores during the tenure of Nitishji and I have given Rs.255.33 crores. I have increased this provision and not reduced it. I know that some states have been neglected but next time this issue would also be settled. An hon'ble Member said that we have effected 10 percent cut . On this issue I want to say that we have a Railway Board. It has effected 10 percent cut to adjust plan expenditure. But I have clearly stated that there would be no cut in the matter of development project and safety measures. If cut is effected in plan expenditure for the sake of adjustment then it is all right but we do not want to effect any cut in development projects. Railways should give top priority to safety aspect. I fully agree with this viewpoint that is why during my first year I made provision for 400 manned level crossings, and recently 180 more crossings have been taken up but for the last 50-55 years we have been having 24000 unmanned railway crossings. Before my joining the Ministry, Railways had started import of coaches and engines. When I joined, I at once stopped this import. I want that engines and coaches should be indigenously manufactured thereby creating job opportunities. I initiated austerity measures. Last year we saved Rs.850 crores. This year our target is Rs.865 crores' savings. We have made efforts to save Rs.1500 crores. We are not getting support of even Rs.1000 crores. I set up a Task Force Committee so that security aspect is not neglected. The report of Task Force is likely to be submitted shortly. And after that we would present it before the Parliament and then we would work in accordance with the suggestions of hon'ble M.Ps.
When poor people used to board trains and they were held by T.T. for travelling without ticket, I used to feel very sorry for them. Therefore, when I became Railway Minister I introduced monthly season ticket of Rs.15 so that a poor man may also claim that he possesses railway's ticket. Indian Railways have safety plan at zonal level but it does not have it at national level. There was no Member (Safety) on the Board.This is the first time I gave charge to the Chairman, Railway Board to take charge of safety. I conducted a meeting of Railway Board in this connection and advised it to formulate a new safety plan. We have provided mobile radio, walkman and walkie talkie in trains. Besides, we are going to introduce them at stations also. We have provided it out of turn to the Station Master also. For this purpose we would need Rs.22 crores but we would bear it because we cannot give any relaxation in safety matters. I had spoken about Rail Tel Corporation and optical fibre cables. If we send a proposal of this Corporation to finance and then to Planning Commission and P.M. Office, I.T. or Communication Department, these formalities would take one year. So we have set up a task force by including one member of each department. We have got registered Rail Tel Corporation and it is ready to submit business plan. With this, signal system of railways would be modernised and communication system would reach villages and they would be connected with Rail Network. We have not taken up this system for one area only. We have taken up 62,800 kms. Introduction of optical fibre cables would bring revolution in railways. Railways is not a commercial organisation only. It has social obligations also. When natural disasters occur, Railways is the first communication line of this country and it always extends its full cooperation. It is also right that incidents of derailment are increasing. I have said that it is better if a train is delayed a bit but we would not put lives of passengers in danger. I have given clear instructions to restrict the speed of trains because it is our utmost duty to save the lives of the passengers. We have made increase of 37 per cent under the head of track renewal. Under signaling communication work, this increased is 26 percent. But according to the recommendation of Khanna Committee we must be given Rs.15000 crores at a time otherwise railways would face difficulties. It is essential to formulate long term plan to ensure proper movement of trains and also to overcome compulsions being faced by us at present. We have launched a campaign to formulate such plan.
I have not been able to reply some individual questions, I would definitely send their replies individually to the hon'ble Members.
Resolution was adopted
The Supplementary Demands for Grant (Railways) No.16 was voted in full.
The Appropriation (Railways) No.5 Bill was passed.
© 2000 BY THE LOK SABHA SECRETARIAT
NOTE: It is the verbatim Debates of the Lok Sabha and not the Synopsis that should be considered authoritative.