I feel a little embarrassed that I am sitting and speaking. But it’s truly a very-very happy day for me today when I have the opportunity to come to Secunderabad and be amongst all my friends here.
I am really very grateful to Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister Shri Mahmood Ali Ji for gracing the occasion, joining us – Shri Bandaru Dattatreya Ji, former Union Minister, Member of Parliament from Secunderabad; my sister Kavita Ji with whom I am continuously interacting for various issues related to the state of Telangana; Hon’ble Minister Shri Narsimha Reddy Garu; Shri T. Padma Rao Goud Garu; the first citizen Hon’ble Mayor Shri Ram Mohan Ji, our young friend here; Hon’ble MP Shri Srinivas, another dear friend with whom I have a lot of engagement in Delhi; Hon’ble President of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Telangana, Dr. K. Lakshman; former President Shri Krishan Reddy Ji; Hon’ble MLC Shri Ram Chandra Rao Garu; Hon’ble MLA Shri Prabhakar Garu; Hon’ble MLC Smt. Lalita; Hon’ble MLA Shri Kanesh; Chairman JPC Hyderabad, Shri Sekhar Reddy Garu; my colleague and as Kavita Ji just said, one of the best performing general managers of Railways Shri Vinod Kumar Yadav Garu, DRMs, other distinguished leaders of society, distinguished persons from Hyderabad and Secunderabad, both on the dais and off the dais, friends from the media.
Today, Secunderabad has become the first railway station to receive a LEED’s Platinum rating and I congratulate all of you on this wonderful occasion. In fact, I was just sharing with Kavita Garu that in earlier days, Telangana used to have railway investment and projects worth about 258 crore in one year, 258 crore in a full year the Telangana region there was capital investment. In the current year, the government led by Shri Narendra Modi, our Hon’ble Prime Minister has allotted Rs. 1,813 crore for the capital investments in the works in Telangana region and we are doing all of these things with speed, with scale and with skill.
You must have all seen the speed with which new projects are been done in the Railways. You must have all seen the scale, after all, if 258 becomes 1800 crores, it’s nearly 6.5-7 times increase in capital expenditure. So, scale of work increases, but when we have flagged off this train from – to give direct connectivity from Hyderabad to Karimnagar – the extension of this train up to Karimnagar, which is a 144 km extra journey using the same rail. This is skill and I will explain to you why this is skill.
There were many trains in Indian Railways, all across the country, which were used for a certain distance, certain amount of time and was then standing in one place for many hours but not utilized. This is called lie overtime or lay overtime in the Railways. This train was also standing in Hyderabad for many hours but not being used, and imagine, this is a 160 year old Railway. We are already 70 years after independence. Nobody thought how we can use our assets in a smarter way, in a better way, in a skilful way.
One day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji, in one of our review meetings told me that Piyush, why don’t you see how many trains are just standing in one station and are not being used for the maximum capacity. It needs some time for maintenance, for checking, quality checking all that but that is at the present moment, six hours. I have now told my general managers to reduce that six hours also so that the train can do longer journey. And out of this spare time, I am delighted that today, we have been able to extend this train up to Karimnagar, an additional 144 kms and I am happy to announce one more extension in similar fashion we will be shortly doing. It is the extension of Nizamabad Express, LTT Nizamabad Express which also stands here but will now be extended to Karimnagar very shortly. This has been a long pending demand of the people of Telangana, of the people of Hyderabad and Karimnagar and we shall shortly be extending that train also to go right up to Karimnagar.
We have done a lot of projects in Secunderabad, which have today been dedicated to the nation. We have also provided LED lighting to all the 225 stations and 561 service buildings which will save Railways Rs. 1.7 crore every year, and I hope all my fellow citizens, brothers and sisters from Telangana, have also replaced your home-lighting, your office-lighting. I hope the government and the Mayor has replaced all the street lighting also with LED lights.
This is a project Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched on 5th January, 2015 from Delhi and it is a project very dear to Prime Minister Modi’s heart, because it saves electricity, it saves the environment, it reduces pollution and because of the relentless efforts of the Government of India, we have been able to reduce the price of LEDs by nearly 90%. What used to cost Rs. 500-600 is today available for Rs. 50-60 and has become affordable for everybody and the money you spend to put up LED in your home, you save electricity bill in 3-4 months as much as the amount you spend on the LED bulb and then for many years, you continue to save electricity bill.
In fact, in a shot span of 3 years and 1 month, because the first LED bulb under the UJALA Yojana was sold on 1st May, 2015, it is now about three years and one month. We have already sold 90 crore bulbs all over India at so much reduced prices, so that it is affordable for the poorest person who can replace his home lighting with an LED bulb and save the electricity charges that he pays.
In fact, one government company alone which used to sell six lakh bulbs before 2014 in one year, six lakh LED bulbs in one year that government company used to sell, today, it is selling six lakh LED bulbs every day. That is the scale of difference and India has become a world leader in LED. Wherever I go anywhere in the World, whether it is America or Europe, I tell them that they should follow India’s example and replace their lighting with LED.
And you will be happy to know the consumers in India, and also in Telangana of course, will collectively save Rs. 45,000 crore in your electricity bills every year because of these 90 crore bulbs which the country has already replaced. Similarly, you can see the solar panels, 400 kilowatt solar energy is going to be generated from the platforms of Secunderabad station. This will save about Rs. 21 lakh of electricity bills every year for only Secunderabad station. And we can use that money to further improve the facilities here and I am delighted that already 20 rural stations in Telangana have been given Wi-Fi facility.
In fact, at Kolapalli station in Hyderabad – there is a station called Kolapalli – one of the government school located close to the railway station uses these Wi-Fi signal and the teachers use this Wi-Fi to train the students to connect with internet and use Wi-Fi for better education. And when I am providing this Wi-Fi to rural stations, my approach is that the poorest of the poor person should also be able to go to the station and connect to the whole world.
I want the farmers in the villages, I want the ladies in the villages to go to the nearest station and enjoy the facility of free Wi-Fi. After all, all of us who live in cities should not be taking the approach that we have boarded the train, we are getting the benefit of all these modern technology, but we want every villager, every rural Indian to get the same facilities that we are enjoying in the cities.
A number of projects are going on in the state of Telangana. We have recently commissioned the project of Peddapalli-Karimnagar-Nizamabad. Now, this was a project which was sanctioned in 1993-94 when PV Narasimha Rao Ji was the Hon’ble Prime Minister – 1993-94. It took 23 years to complete that project because Prime Minister Modi gave funds to complete that project fast. And I am delighted that we have been able to commission it. Similarly, we have completed the new line project between Jaggayyapeta-Mellacheruvu-Janpahad and Vishnupuram, because Rs. 427 crores was allotted for this line in the last four years alone. Never before, Telangana got this kind of allocations.
Hon’ble Prime Minister had laid the foundation stone in 2016 for the new line between Manoharabad and Kothapalli which is 150 kms. It will provide rail connectivity to very remote and economically backward areas and also link the famous pilgrimage place – Vemulawada to the mainland through the railway network.
I think there is a lot of potential for further doing good work in Telangana. I have received some requests – one of the requests I received is about Cherlapally terminal expansion, nearby to Hyderabad. Hon’ble MLA Shri Prabhakar Garu has just told me. I will ensure that that is approved by the Railway Board quickly so that the work can start on Cherlapally terminal expansion.
I have also received one more request today about a multi-storeyed car parking to be set up at Platform No. 1 side of Secunderabad railway station, where there is a famous Ganesh temple. I am a Ganesh Bhakt myself. I go to Siddhivinayak, since I come from Mumbai, every Tuesday when I am in Mumbai. And nowadays, I am located in Delhi, so I go to a very famous Prachin Hanuman Mandir in Connaught Place every Tuesday.
A Ganesh Bhakt cannot refuse the request of Ganesh Bhakts of Secunderabad. So, I have directed the general manager Shri Yadav to find a suitable place and hand it over to the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation so that they can set up a very nice multi-storeyed car parking facility and decongest that whole area. In fact, maybe after this programme, I will go there. I will take darshan and blessings of Lord Ganesha and we will also see the site, if possible. So today itself, we will try and finalize a site. That is the speed of the Modi government. The request came to me half an hour back and we will take a decision within the next half an hour.
I was also very happy when the GM told me and Kavita Didi also reminded me that I should share the good news with you that we are connecting the main Secunderabad station with the metro rail by a skywalk, so that passengers can interchange between the main line and the metro, comfortably and safely. That work will also be done to connect the metro and the main line through a skywalk.
Now, the problem when you make so many announcements is that now I will receive a barrage of more questions and more requests but I am always happy to receive your ideas, to receive your suggestions, to work in partnership with the state government, with the local municipal bodies because I believe all of us are working for the common goal to serve the people of India, to serve the people of Telangana, to serve the people of Hyderabad, Secunderabad, Karimnagar and all this region, because for all of us, Mahatma Gandhi Ji’s words, “ Customer is King.” It is our duty to serve our customers, and the passengers and the citizens of India are our customers.
We are going to shortly launch 150 years celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, 150 years we are going to celebrate on 2nd October, 2018. I appeal to all my brothers and sisters here and to the Government of Telangana and local bodies. Let us all celebrate this in a grand fashion. Let us give to our future generation a better India. Let us all give the message of Mahatma Gandhi – of a clean India, Swachh Bharat. Let us all work together as partners to once again bring the spirit of brotherhood, oneness, irrespective of caste, community, creed, religion. Let us all work for a new India. A new India where every citizen has a shelter on his head, in his home he has clean drinking water, 24 hours electricity, good school and college nearby, good health facility, where everyone has a toilet in his home so that India can become open defecation-free.
Let us all pledge ourselves to serve the poorest of the poor in this country. Let us all pledge ourselves to hold the Constitution as the highest holy Bible, holy Quran, holy Gita and serve the underprivileged sections, the marginalized sections of society who have been deprived of development for centuries. Let us all work collectively for a better future for each and every of the 125 crore citizens of India.
And I assure all of you that the Government of India led by Prime Minister Modi will work together with all of you to make a better India, a cleaner India, a better future for the youth of this country, a better environment for the people of India working with the spirit of federalism, working with the spirit of partnership with one common goal – Service to Society.
June 18, 2018 Speaking at press conference in New Delhi