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Modi rules out privatisation of Railways, “can change the face of the country if modernized”

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Varanasi (Dec. 25. 2014): Prime Minister Modi Thursday ruled out privatisation of Railways and said that people must not be wary of foreign and private capital being utilised for improving infrastructure of the national transporter which, in turn, will help boost the country's economy.

On a visit to his constituency here, Modi recalled his childhood days when he had sold tea near a railway station, saying, "I have an association with Railways that is older than what most of Railway employees can claim to have.

"There is a misunderstanding that Railways is being privatised. However, I want to make it clear that we are not privatising Railways. We cannot go in this direction. You don't have to worry. It is neither our wish nor thinking," he said, asking the unions not to pay heed to "rumours" in this regard.

The Prime Minister made it clear that he planned to utilise the enormous capital available with business establishments within the country as well as abroad for improving the infrastructure.

"We need to understand and appreciate the potential of the Railways' huge infrastructure which, if utilised properly, can transform the country's economy," he said.

He was speaking at the Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW), on the outskirts of the city, where he inaugurated a project for expansion of the workshop and also dedicated to the nation a 4500 horse-power air-conditioned passenger train engine.

"We can take the example of a village where there is a railway station through which very few trains pass. Now the existence of the station would naturally result in good electricity supply.

"If we construct a few rooms in the vicinity, we can use these for setting up skill development centres which can work wonders for the unemployed youths in the village and nearby areas," Modi said.

Modi said Railways can be made an attractive career option for many talented young people.

"For that we would need to bring in technological upgradation and better human resource management. It is for this purpose that we have decided to set up four Railway universities across the country," he said.

"At these universities, young men who have an interest in Railways and its operations can get best-possible training before they get a job," Modi added.

"We don't see railways only as a means to travel. We see it as the backbone of India's development," he said.

"I am attached with railway from my birth. My life has been saved by railways. No one can love railways more than I do," he said.

Spelling out his vision for the public transporter, Modi proposed to set up four railway universities in the four corners of the coutry to produce efficient manpower, modernise its infrastructure and make it service oriented.

"I want to build rail universitiers and if I get help from Japan and China, get technology support and expertise, should I take it or not. We want to do this," he underscored.

Railways can change the face of the country if it is modernised and made service oriented, thus generating huge employment opportunities, he said.