My colleague and senior leader of the BJP, Member of Parliament, Shri Mahesh Poddarji; all the distinguished officials, officer bearers and business leaders of Bengaluru, ladies and gentlemen.
At the outset, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to meet and interact with you. I have been meaning to come and meet all of you for quite some time, your delegation met me on more occasion than one, both in Bengaluru and in Delhi and I had promised that I will come and spend some time and understand what are the issues before your team, before the business and industry circles in Bengaluru. But a number of very-very important and transformational initiatives that we tried to start in the railways over the last eight months that I have been in office as a Minister of Railways, have not allowed me to spend too much time interacting with chambers, with business persons. More so, because I have been focused on trying to change the mindset of the Indian railways which I inherited after 160 years of working in a particular fashion.
And I believe that the success or failure of any organisation, it could be a chamber of commerce, it could be a private enterprise, it can be a public sector organisation or even a government department like the railways, is more dependent not on the nature of ownership, it doesn’t matter who owns it, but it depends on what vision you provide to the organisation and what leadership you provide. And this has been my belief for years and years, for decades now that the success of any venture, the success of any effort will always be in the leadership and vision that you provide, not necessarily who owns or how the ownership structure is.
So you have so many organisations in the government sector which are doing a fabulous job, and you have so many organisations even in the private sector which are unable to do a good job. And in that sense, I believe that we have great opportunities. Mahesh ji was very kind in his words; we have been able to achieve some good successes in the power sector, in the coal sector, very good success in the renewable energy sector. We have been able to initiate transparent mechanism to encash the best value for the natural resources of the country. In the mining sector, different types of mines are now being auctioned in a very transparent manner, including coal mines, generating potentially lakhs of crores of rupees revenue for the state governments, none of that money goes to the centre. In fact, centre only acts like a catalyst, a supporter. We just help to ensure a free and transparent mechanism and an equal opportunity for all to participate in that. But the revenue goes fully to the states to help them in their social welfare measures.
And that same effort I am now trying to put into the railways to change the mindset of that 160-year old organisation to think contemporary, to think modern, to connect with the world of tomorrow, to start engaging with – and in that sense, our engagement with Bengaluru is going to be truly transformational, because I believe this is the centre of innovation, this is going to be the future of new technologies, particularly, robotics, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, all the new-age, next generation technologies.
I think Bengaluru is the place which will lead the initiative and efforts across the nation in making all of this a reality, particularly, in a sector like railways, where interventions of this sort can really transform the way the railways works.
Of course, I just heard Mr Ravi talk about this chamber having been started, one of the oldest chambers in the country, being started by Sir M. Visvesvaraya. It’s truly a remarkable honour for all of us. Don’t worry, I won’t have to struggle with the pronunciation of our very-very renowned forefathers who have left us such a wonderful legacy, not only in terms of what they have brought to Indian industry, but also the fact that they have left such a wonderful chamber to work for the causes of industry.
And Sir Visvesvaraya actually is one of those pioneers who was far ahead of his times. He became an engineer, and he was the Diwan of Mysore if I am not mistaken. And he had foresight, in a way, if I may use a small anecdote to explain the foresight that Sir Visvesvaraya had, the way he propagated, let’s take a simple thing like Mysore Pak. You know that Mysore Pak that we eat in the restaurants everywhere as a sweet dish, as a desert. It was his foresight that it is as sweet dish. It is a desert. It is eaten in our homes, it will be eaten in other homes, it will be eaten across the world some day. But when you give it an identity, that’s what will make it a marketable product which will go across the world. And as Mysore Pak becomes famous all over the world, so will Mysore become famous, so will Karnataka become famous. That is the level of foresight that Sir Visvesvaraya had.
And in so many ways Bengaluru continues that tradition. We are very proud of the achievements of Bengaluru. रवि जी ज़रा नाम ठीक से बोलिए अगली बार से | It is not anymore Bangalore, it was the old name of Bangalore. And we have to be proud of our heritage. After all, all our forefathers, when you introduced FKCCI, you spoke about Sir Visvesvaraya, because we are proud of our heritage. We are proud of our forefathers. Just because some foreigners came in and they could not pronounce our names or our cities’ names or our people’s names properly, it doesn’t mean that we will change our names. So getting back Bengaluru is the pride of Bengaluru.
But I just hope people stop messing around with the names of all our saints and seers and senior leaders of Bengaluru in Karnataka in the future. Lot of things can be said and done about the way this government has changed or transformed the thinking in the country. As we move into this phase of a smart economy, and I am sure you are all aware the IMF has once again today declared India to be the fastest growing large economy in the world at 7.4%, for which I must thank all of you business leaders.
It is your sheer effort, your hard work that helps the economy grow, that helps government manage its finances, its resources better, and then serve the poor of India with the resources that are generated by the economic activity that you all carry out.
And as Prime Minister Modi had once said, we may have a million problems, but then we have a billion minds to solve those problems and that is the true strength of India. Today, of course, is also a very important day, 9th May, because it also is the birth anniversary of Maharana Pratap – a leader about whom we are all very-very proud. But then if you look at Rana Pratap’s history, you will find that along with Maharana Pratap, you had Bhama Shah. And Bhama Shah was the person who funded Maharana Pratap in his campaigns to protect the boundaries and the national territory.
So, when Prime Minister Modi has embarked on this journey to change the way Indian business works, to change the way India and Indians think and work to bring about a corruption-free society in this country, to transform the lives of the people of India, to ensure that we can have a corruption-free good governance in this country, then all of the Bhama Shahs sitting over here have a very important role to play for success in our mission.
Because as they say, corruption happens when there are two sides to the story, somebody has to give for somebody to take a bribe. And I think it’s time that all of us in business, and I say this because until 4 years ago I myself was sitting on the other side of the table along with all of you and listening to other leaders speak. But I do believe that when all of us make up our mind that we are going to work together to bring about change, to transform the way business is conducted and run in India, we can truly leave behind for the next generation, and I see a lot of youngsters in this room, it’s enjoined, it’s our fundamental duty of all of us, particularly, the relatively greying and greyed persons of our age, my age and Ravi our age that we leave behind a better world for the next generation, a world in which they don’t have to do the type of things we were forced to do.
Of course, in the railways we are trying to do several things to transform, of course, passenger amenities, the railway stations, modernise the railway stations, make the trains, the toilets, the stations, even the railway tracks much cleaner, introduce better catering services, better passenger amenities. In fact, one service that I am trying to expand very rapidly, and I think the Bengaluru station also has the advantage of Wi-Fi now. And several stations all across Karnataka and all across India are now having the benefit of free Wi-Fi service, which the Indian railways is providing.
My aim is that across the Indian railways network, over 7000 stations will have the benefit of free Wi-Fi services over the next one year. That is the speed with which we are working to make this available for the citizens.
In fact, very recently, one gentleman Shrinath K. who is a high school pass out, working as a coolie at Ernakulam junction in Kerala cleared the written test of Kerala Public Service Commission. The interview is yet to be done but the written test he has cleared, and when the press asked him, you know, you were working as a coolie, how did you manage to get such accolades? His answer was that I used the free railway Wi-Fi and got the knowledge to prepare for the exam. And when we are doing free Wi-Fi across the Indian railways you will appreciate that the rich people nowadays travel more by air, it is the common man and the poor man who travels by train more often than not. And I want this Wi-Fi to be available to the poor of India, so that they can benefit and be connected with the rest of the world.
In fact, in my scheme of things I am also thinking that the railways should set up this facility and then engage with local business, local industry to maintain it, to provide free training classes to the local poor, to make the farmers, women and all get the ability to work on internet at the railway station free of charge. And many people asked me, even in my railway department, sir but the station is in such a remote area, there are hardly any passengers who come there, why are we providing Wi-Fi? I said we are providing Wi-Fi, because this is not going to be used only by the passengers on the railway. The 50-100 villages around the station we will invite all the women from there, we will invite all the children from there to come and use this Wi-Fi free of charge, to connect to the rest of the world, to explore the rest of the world.
And I am sure that as these youth from these remote areas get a chance to know what is happening in the rest of the world, you will find a million more entrepreneurs, a million more techies, a million more brains who will solve those problems that the country is facing.
I don’t know how many of you saw the movie, ‘Padman.’ Have you seen that, some of you? Now if you recall the movie, and it’s based on a real life story of a person in Tamil Nadu whose angst was that his wife could not get the benefit of hygienic sanitary care, and who understood the detrimental effects that could have on his wife’s health. But when he was trying to explore a solution, two things deterred him, one was the mindset, the local problems in the village that he faced when he tried to introduce that product, and two, was the cost.
The mindset he was able to change over a period of time through sheer dint of perseverance. And, of course, once he became a celebrity, he was recognised all across the country and the world, then the people in his village also started understanding that what he was doing was good for the village and the people in the village. But for the cost, he used his native imagination and brain and to help him – if you recall, anybody recalls the story – he literally worked as a domestic help in a professor’s house in an engineering college and that professor’s young child helped him surf the internet and through that he was able to locate that there is a technology by which he can make a low-cost sanitary pad which can be made available to the poor in his village at affordable prices.
So, the mindset change and engaging with technology, which Bengaluru has done extremely well, when you bring about both together, when the catalyst of technology works with the changed mindset of the people of India, you can truly bring about a revolution in this country. And we are not resting, we are just taking Wi-Fi to the remotest corners of the country. I am hoping to also set up a Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi store under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana, which is also a gift of Bengaluru, which has been introduced by Shri Anant Kumarji, your honourable MP, and now there are thousands of stores all over the country.
This country will eternally be grateful to Bengaluru also for this new concept of providing generic medicines at such low cost across the country for the poor of India who cannot afford very high, costly, branded medicines. But these generic medicines can do the same solution which these very costly branded medicines will do to help a person come out of illness.
We will take these tours to remote parts of the country. I am also thinking that across the country we provide a small place where entrepreneur start-ups, and particularly women entrepreneurs I hope, can set up a small unit which can manufacture low-cost but extremely hygienic and good quality sanitary pads and market it in the villages around the station, so that they can be made available for one rupee or one and a quarter rupee as low a price as possible.
And ladies and gentlemen, I assure you that any doubt you may have that it’s because of GST of 12% that these pads are costly is complete nonsense. Because some of these large multinational companies want to import sanitary pads into India and brand them, they want to get the benefit of high set off of taxes and charge our consumers. That is why they are promoting this campaign that GST rates should be reduced, so that they can get the set off and keep it to themselves.
But all these small self-help groups who are manufacturing sanitary pads are not required to pay any GST. They all come under the exempt category. If they become slightly larger, even then they get into the composition scheme up to one and a half crores, on which they don’t have to pay the tax. This tax is paid only by the large multinationals, and I am sure the large multinationals better pay some taxes which can go to serve the poor of India and help maybe some poor person get a free electricity connection under Soubhagya scheme of the government of India or get a free LPG connection under Ujjwala Scheme of the government of India. And half that tax comes to the state government which then carries out welfare measure for the people also.
So, what I was only trying to say was there is a changing mindset in the country, which we are trying to bring into different aspects of government, laying the foundation of a new India and the principles of that new India will be principles of transparency, principles of participative governance, the principle of equal opportunity for all, the principle of encouraging free trade where everybody competes on an equal footing and the honest are not put to a disadvantage when they have to be in business and somebody else is cheating and evading taxes.
The principle of prioritizing what is most necessary for this country, the principle of doing a root cause analysis and solving problems through policy and procedural improvements and not by giving out favours to individual companies or individuals. The principle by which the nation’s resources are used to first serve the poorest of the poor who has a right on the nation’s resources, the principles of leaving a good environment for the people of the country to enjoy, unlike what we are seeing in Bengaluru where there is a rapid deterioration of the environment with no concern for climate change.
And these bold steps to end corruption, to bring about good governance, to bring about a transformational change in the lives of the people of India, more particularly, the marginalized sections of society who have been deprived of a high quality life, I am sure will receive the support and blessings of all good-meaning people, all right-meaning people like all of you. I am sure our efforts to promote a digital economy which is being supported very much by your chamber will help us bring about a more transparent and honest method of paying taxes, method of collecting government revenues, method of transacting business.
I am sure the Swachhta Abhiyan will receive the support of all of you so that Bengaluru can also vie to be one of the cleanest cities in the country, like Indore and Bhopal, the first number 1 and number 2 in the country in Swachhta rankings. And when the citizens participate wholeheartedly and the state and central government work in tandem to ensure the success of every programme, one can get transformational results.
And ladies and gentlemen, I am sure the people of Bengaluru, who are a very conscious, very enlightened set of people, will make sure that we prepare Bengaluru to become not only the IT capital which it is today, but to become the capital of the next generation of technology, the capital of artificial intelligence, the capital of the future, of Internet of Things, the capital of robotics. And we provide under the Make in India initiative technology, goods, services to the rest of the world through our sheer intelligence, through our sheer innovation and becoming the innovation capital of India I am sure will help Bengaluru lead the march towards a new India, a new Karnataka and a new Bengaluru.
Thank you very much.
Question and answer
Q: Many railway links still pending since independence, from last four years I made many submissions particularly as my President said about Chamarajanagar to Sathyamangalam, which connect three states, and all the three districts also in the state is most backward area. In the 2013 and 2014, then government has sanctioned about 1380 crores from Bengaluru to Chamarajanagar, but still it is pending. My other one is how railways is making digitalization of the railways. Now another one sir, railway cross lines, over-bridge and below roads still is pending?
Q: Hello sir, Kodagu, I mean Virajpet is very near to Kodagu district and it is one of the most tourist destinations of India, I mean people come but still we do not have railway access to Virajpet. People still have to go to Mysore and then take road travel to Virajpet?
Q: Good evening sir, I have a very particular question regarding the catering systems in railways. If you go in Shatabdi from Bengaluru to Chennai, the food is not eatable at all, very-very bad food is given and it has to be taken care of. I congratulate you, the very good hygiene which I saw recently in railway stations, but please look into it.
Q: Sir, you rightly said that the Bengaluru is going to be the innovation capital and for all the new things Bengaluru is going to be the important centre. Now I could even go a little further to say that Bengaluru will be the true gateway for India. We deserve and we request you to provide speed trains from Bengaluru to every nearby destination within 300 kilometres. I need not detail the cities’ names that’s one thing. And I request you to provide two-way tunnel trains from Bengaluru to Mangalore.
Q: We are talking about Wi-Fi in all the stations which is an excellent move, but recently we saw one unmanned level crossing accident where lot of children of a marriage party lost their lives. Sir, can you take this a priority and convert all the unmanned level crossings in the country to manned level crossing, so that this basic thing which has been pending for the last 70-75 years can be taken care of. I think the priority for the government and the railway, this should be number one.
Q: The way I look at it is every railway shed, platform shed, every rooftop of the train, I see it as an opportunity for us to convert solar power using solar panels, how do you look at that considering the vast areas of land railway has? Thank you.
Q: बैंगलोर के बारे में सब कुछ सुना, बहुत अच्छा आपका आईडिया बताया, और रेलवे के बारे में चार बरस में कितना इम्प्रूवमेंट हो गया यह कर्नाटक के लिए कितना एक्स्ट्रा एनडीए गवर्नमेंट से इधर आ गया, कितना एक्स्ट्रा क्वालिटी वर्क इधर पहुँच गया, इतना तो जानना चाहता हूँ | यह ज्यादा एक्स्ट्रा कोई नया लाइन और कुछ स्पेशलिटी उसके अन्दर खाने का पीने का वगैरा इसमें सब कुछ….?
Q: Just for the benefit of the industry of Karnataka, can we have RDSO office in Bengaluru?
Q: सर रेलवे देश को नहीं दिलों को भी जोड़ता है लेकिन जो मध्यम वर्ग, 70% of the middle class family which travels in trains throughout India, their safety is much more important, where the Railway Protection Force is ineligible to give them, because lot of thefts and including in Bengaluru when the weekends IT people go there are thefts of the laptops, I think the railway protection has to take care of this?
A: Thank you, this is a fairly good set of questions. I have to answer 10 questions already. Fairly good round up of questions, maybe some of my answers may answer your question also hopefully. First of all, let me address the one about the unmanned level crossing. I became a Minister on 4th September, 2016, the first meeting I had after taking the review of what-what had been happening was on 7th September on safety. I think that meeting lasted some 12-14 hours.
And one of the decisions taken in that meeting was that we will further expedite, in the last four years before I became a Minister, Mr Sadanand Gowda, your own MP and then Mr Suresh Prabhu had already embarked on a mission to eliminate all unmanned level crossings. And the number of unmanned level crossings that have been eliminated in our four years are far-far-far more than ever before in the history of Indian railways. There were over 20,000 of them which they used to eliminate at a small speed, right now they are being eliminated at such a transformational speed that I am happy to share with you that I had set a target on 7th September that by 30th September, 2017 that is only one year, including tendering process, including process of adding people because you have to man many of the level crossings, including the process of creating underpasses or over-bridges, I said one way or the other we must eliminate the unmanned level crossing and have them either manned or underpass or over-bridge or diversion in one year’s time.
And here we are talking of a legacy of nearly seven decades of independent India, of 160 years of Indian railways. But we took the bold decision on that day, and but then, as I said earlier, we work on principles. Should we not? And would you not as business people prioritize? You will obviously do the golden quadrilateral first, the main golden diagonal we call it, the golden route and the diagonals, which is about 10-12,000 kms. You will be happy to know, these are called ABC routes, where 80% of the railway traffic moves. Only 58 unmanned level crossings were there in the ABC routes which carry 80% of railway traffic on the date that unfortunate accident took place – only 58, in the whole country.
Now that accident unfortunately took place in a route which was not in the ABC route, which also we are eliminating. As I said, I have set this target 30th September, but we were going systematically. All the A-category routes first, because they are the busiest, then B, C. Now that particular accident unfortunately which happened in Padrauna in Uttar Pradesh recently – Kushinagar – the driver was wearing headphones and merrily talking or driving the car. We had a Gate Mitra over there, a person who had been kept there that when the train comes to stop the traffic, the cars traffic, vehicular traffic.
The Gate Mitra, as has been reported, I also saw in television, the children were saying ‘अंकल, गाड़ी रोको, अंकल रुको, ट्रेन आ रही है’, but he had earphones and the unfortunate incident happened. My heart goes out to those families who had to suffer for the misdemeanor of this sort, but I can assure all of you we are on track to eliminate these unmanned level crossings on all the broad gauge network through one of these means that I just mentioned, either we man them or we put an underpass, where still about, I took a review on the day of that accident again, which is when I came to know that ABC is nearly eliminated, only 58 left. Now we are working on the rest of the routes.
And even in the meter gauge and narrow gauge what we have decided is we will stop all night trains and only in the day run them at a slow speed, so that should there be any truck or car passing on the track, it can be stopped. So, we are ensuring that safety is paramount and I can assure all of you that is the highest priority that the Indian railways has and is working on.
You spoke about the railway link, some lady there also spoke about connectivity and all. Sadly, in the past, the governments used to announce in the railway budget hundreds of schemes and hundreds of new tracks but no money to really do anything about it, no land in our possession. Which is why we have hundreds of projects with lakhs of crores of cost overrun, but will never see the light of the day because we don’t have land in our hand.
There is a project in West Bengal which started somewhere in the 70s, 50 years it has not got completed, 40-45 years and there is no land only to make that project. The cost overrun is more than 10 times already. Take your own state of Karnataka, the earlier regime you are very proudly saying that some money was allocated to the project, find out what was spent on any project in Karnataka. This government has allocated nearly 4000 or 4,500 crores this year for the various projects of Karnataka. All these figures are on the website. I have not come prepared for a railway debate here, but I can in a minute get you the details.
Modi government has expanded the investment in Karnataka by 600%, the average expenditure that we are doing for capital investment in Karnataka railways – 500-600% growth, after we came into government. Where it used to be 600-700 crores average a year, this year we provided 4,500 crores. So, I wish you would ask that question to the real persons, even Railway Ministers from your state in the past why they did not do this for Karnataka for so many years.
And, of course, the state government has to provide land, get the forest clearance for that Mysore project and once the land and forest clearances and all are done, railways is most anxious to complete all these projects.
So, I hope, as they say in the railway story, if you put a double engine to work, then the train moves faster. So, you have an opportunity that your path of development of the rail infrastructure also gets a double engine in the next few days.
Of course, catering system leaves a lot to be desired, since you are from that industry, please give me some good suggestions. I have been having interaction with all these contractors and all of these are old contractors. I have been appealing to people that if you find the railway catering of poor quality, please let me know, so that I can take action on those contractors. Ultimately, in government, just by hearsay I can’t take action. So when you complain I can take action on them and throw out bad contractors and get some good contractors. So, I will appeal to all of you that ultimately your participation will help me perform better, and please do let me know if you find any such instances.
Of course, speed trains from all over Bengaluru is a very good question and you must hear the answer because that is something which is a matter of shame for India and for the past governments. You will be amazed that Mumbai to Bengaluru, Mumbai to Chennai, Mumbai to Hyderabad, these are such critical rail links; 160-year old rail network even now, as we speak, I inherited single line sections on these important routes. That is the shame of Indian governments of the past before Mr Modi came in.
It’s Mr Modi who decided that all these critical main lines should all be double line. And now the pace of new lines, doubling, tripling of lines is more than 100% than ever before. Electrification – there was no concern for climate change in the past. Diesel engines are coming into Bengaluru every day, because large parts of the tracks are not electrified. It is Mr Modi’s government which is electrifying the entire Indian railways to ensure that climate is protected, the environment is protected, we don’t have to import diesel and precious foreign exchange goes away, the rupee value gets deteriorated because of these imports and the people of Bengaluru have to suffer diesel smoke for every train that comes in.
So, sir as we double the lines, as more and more lines get added – and by the way, you are all, many of you are engineers or business people, a single line vs a double line, you don’t double the capacity, you probably quadruple or increase it by 7 or 8 times, which is a matter of anybody to calculate. Speed also goes up, but more importantly, right now the train goes one way and then comes back. When there is a double line, you can have one after the other trains going both sides. So, you don’t double the capacity, it could be 4 times, 5 times, in certain route 8 times. But this little elementary thinking, your Railway Minister from Karnataka before 2014 could not possibly do, which Prime Minister Modi has done after he came in.
Sir you spoke about solar, when I was Renewable Energy Minister, Prime Minister Modi gave me the direction that we should promote solar in a big way in the country. Of course, we promoted solar all across the country, in your state solar also became a method for some more things, about which you and industry know better than me. But hopefully, things will change in the next few days.
On the railway stations, we are putting up solar equipment across the country which we can harness the electricity and use for the railways, but on the trains we experimented. I experimented on the trains also, but since trains don’t work all the time, the cost of that power was becoming phenomenally high. So, on the trains it does not work, but on the rooftop of stations it is going to be implemented and it has already started. You may recall Prime Minister inaugurated in Katra and Vaishno Devi, and many other, in Delhi it is being done in a big way. I think even in Karnataka in many stations they have put up solar, but that data would be available on the website.
Somebody asked me very boldly, ‘कर्नाटक को क्या मिला?’ कर्नाटक को 6 गुना पैसा मिला, कर्नाटक में डबलिंग हो रही हैं लाइन्स, ट्रिपलिंग हो रही हैं लाइन्स, कर्नाटक में रेलवे स्टेशन को सुधार हो रहा है, लगभग हर एक स्टेशन में वाई-फाई लगाया जायेगा कर्नाटक में, कर्नाटक की रेल व्यवस्थाओं को और सुरक्षित बनाया जायेगा और इस सबके लिए पैसा केंद्र सरकार दे रही है | बेंगलुरु में जो ट्रैफिक की समस्या है उसके लिए सालों से हम मांग रहे थे कि… अनंत कुमार जी ने बोला ’94 से मैं सबअर्बन रेलवे मांग रहा हूँ | कर्नाटक सरकार और केंद्र सरकार झगड़ती रही मोदी जी ने आने के बाद हम सबको निर्देश दिया कि बेंगलुरु के मेरे नागरिकों की सुविधा बढ़ानी पड़ेगी और अब जो हमने सोचा है आखिर क्यों नहीं बन पा रही थी? क्योंकि कर्नाटक सरकार पैसे की सुविधा नहीं दे रही थी, एक व्यवस्था थी जो पिछली सरकार ने ही तय की थी 80-20, कि 80% राज्य सरकार देगी 20% केंद्र सरकार देगी | हम उसको बदलकर अब 50-50 कर रहे हैं, केंद्र सरकार 20 के बदले 50% देगी |
और उसके लिए थोड़ा एक्स्ट्रा एफएसआई राज्य सरकार को देना पड़ेगा जो मुझे लगता है कि राज्य सरकार को कोई तकलीफ नहीं है उसमें, उससे मोनिटाइज करके हम पैसा खड़ा कर सकेंगे जिससे यह प्रोजेक्ट्स तेज़ गति से बनें | और यह सबअर्बन रेलवे इतने वर्षों में नहीं बनने का एक कारण यह था कि ज़मीन नहीं थी और आप तो बेंगलुरु की ज़मीन की कीमतें जानते हो, वह ज़मीन खरीदते-खरीदते पूरा रेल मंत्रालय शायद कंगाल हो जाता वह रेलवे लाइन लगाने के लिए |
पर हमने उसमें अक्ल लगाई, कैसे अक्ल लगाई? 24 सितम्बर को मैं पहली बार कर्नाटक आया था, मुझे जब चुनाव के प्रभारी के रूप में माननीय अमित शाह जी, हमारे राष्ट्रीय अध्यक्ष ने नियुक्त किया तो मैं 24 सितम्बर को यहाँ आया था उसकी बैठक के लिए तो पहले मैं रेलवे स्टेशन गया क्योंकि मेरा दायित्व है कि अपने विभाग का काम भी देखूं उसकी प्राथमिकता है | तो मैं रेलवे स्टेशन गया, तो जब हम हवाई अड्डे से आ रहे थे तो अनंत कुमार जी मेरे साथ गाड़ी में थे, उन्होंने कहा पीयूष मैं 1994 से इसके पीछे पड़ा हूँ, सदानंद गौड़ा और सुरेश प्रभु जी ने इसको धक्का दिया तो यह गाड़ी आगे बढ़ी है अब तुम इसको अंतिम अंजाम दो |
तो मैं सीधा रेलवे स्टेशन गया, अधिकारियों को ऑर्डर किया कि एक महीने के अन्दर, 30 days I gave them, मुझे इसकी pre-feasibility report और तब मैंने उनको यह आईडिया दिया कि ज़मीन न खरीदनी पड़े, आप एलिवेटेड ट्रैक प्लान करो | और आपको जानकर ख़ुशी होगी कि यह जो 17,000 करोड़ का बेंगलुरु में हमने सबअर्बन नेटवर्क जो मंजूरी केंद्र सरकार ने दी है पिछले बजट में, यह 17,000 करोड़ में 160 किलोमीटर की लाइनें लगेंगी और 160 किलोमीटर में 92 या 98 किलोमीटर ज़मीन पर होगी जहाँ-जहाँ हमारे पास ज़मीन है और बाकी 92 किलोमीटर ज़मीन पर और 68 किलोमीटर जहाँ ज़मीन नहीं थी उस सबको हम एलिवेटेड ट्रैक बनाएंगे जिससे बिना ज़मीन ख़रीदे आपको कम समय में हम एक अच्छी सुविधा दे सकें सबअर्बन रेलवे की जिस सुविधा में लगभग 15 लाख यात्री ट्रेवल कर सकें | और मेरे मन में कल्पना है कि यहाँ मैं शुरू से ही एयरकंडीशन ट्रेन लगाऊंगा | मेट्रो के जैसे एयरकंडीशन ट्रेन्स तेज़ गति से जाएँगी | भाई आखिर राज्य सरकार ने मंजूरी देनी चाहिए कि 50% वह भी देंगे |
और मुझे येदियुरप्पा जी ने ज़रूर आश्वस्त किया कि वह इसको तुरंत मंज़ूरी देंगे अगर आप लोगों का आशीर्वाद उनके साथ रहा और लगभग हमें जो अनुमान मिल रहा है सब जगह मुझे लगता है जनता ने अपना मन बना लिया है, कर्नाटक की जनता ने अपना मन बना लिया है | और पूरे 17,000 में जो ज़मीन खरीदना पड़ेगा वह चंद हेक्टेयर की ज़मीन रह गयी है, कुछ हज़ार करोड़ के करीब बस | जो नॉर्मल कोर्स में अगर हम ज़मीन पर बनाने जाते तो पहली बात तो 30-40 साल लगता ही नहीं और ज़मीन खरीदने की आप जानते हैं कितनी तकलीफ होती है और हज़ारों-हज़ारों करोड़ की शायद ज़मीन ही लग जाती उसमें, फिर आप सोचिये कितना महंगा हो जाता आपको उसमें ट्रेवल करना |
और यह इलेक्ट्रीफाइड होगा पूरा जिससे आपका पर्यावरण भी ख़राब नहीं हो और इससे लाखों गाड़ियाँ जो आज सड़क पर चलती हैं उसके बदले आप आराम से एयरकंडीशन की सुविधा में ट्रेन में जा सकेंगे और आप सबको अपने दूरदराज़ – अभी आज वाइटफील्ड जाना है, इधर उधर अलग-अलग जगह आपको सुविधा मिल जाएगी |
और आखिरी प्रश्न था ‘देश नहीं, दिलों को जोड़ता है’, मुझे बहुत अच्छा लगा| मुझे लगता है अगर कोई पिक्चरें देखें और हर भाषा की पिक्चर चाहे वह कन्नड़ हो, तेलुगु हो, मलयालम हो, हिंदी हो, अंग्रेजी हो, हर भाषा की पिक्चरें देखें तो सबसे ज्यादा अगर कोई प्रेम के गीत किसी में होंगे तो रेल गाड़ी के सफ़र में होंगे | पीछे तो मुझे पता चला किसी ने अपनी शादी भी रचाई रेल गाड़ी के अन्दर | और मैं समझता हूँ यहीं बैठे हुए कई लोग होंगे जिन्होंने हनीमून अपना किया होगा रेल गाड़ी में जाकर |
पर मैं आपको आश्वस्त करता हूँ, आपकी सुरक्षा, महिलाओं की सुरक्षा, बच्चों की सुरक्षा हमारे लिए प्राथमिकता है और मैं जल्द ही एक योजना ला रहा हूँ जिससे सभी रेलवा स्टेशन और आगे चलकर हर एक ट्रेन में सीसीटीवी कैमरा लगाऊंगा जिससे आप सबको सुरक्षित ट्रेवल करने को मिले |
बहुत-बहुत धन्यवाद |
Panel: I have no words to express at this moment, but the last five months, we have been requesting Shri Piyush Goyal ji to come and address. He was so busy because he has got two important portfolios, both are very important, one is Coal and one is Railways. Sir, first of all, let me thank you for the big-big gift for Bengaluru, the Suburban Railway system sir. I was there with Piyush Goyal ji, Shri Anant Kumar ji, PC Mohan ji… when the press conference was held in Bengaluru city railway station I was hearing him announcing the suburban railway system. Thank you so much sir.
Second is sir, for the industry, we need one bypass line from Bidni to Nelamangala, towards New Mangalore port. If this happens, lot of time will save, because Bangalore is congested. Second is Hubli-Ankola line, is very important because it connects east coast with west coast, so it is stuck up.
A: See, I can’t make any new announcements, because the model code of conduct is there. So, I suggest all these things please put on a piece of paper on your letter head and send it to me. I have to go for an urgent meeting. And even the CCTV thing which I mentioned, let me clarify to all of you, it’s not that I am going to do it in the future. It’s already a decision, taken on file, on which work has started to convert all the railway stations with the full mapping of CCTV and to take CCTV on all the coaches. So, because of model code I cannot tell you so many of the new things that I have in my mind, except talk about what has already been decided on the file.
Panel: Thank you sir. Thank you very much for coming here.
May 8, 2018 Speaking at a NewsX TV programme 'Karnataka Next Conclave'