Expressing his happiness on seeing the modern rail infrastructure project getting implemented on the ground, he said, “When the first goods train runs in the Khurja-Bhaupur freight corridor, we can hear the roar of self-reliant India. Prayagraj Operation Control centre is one of the modern control centres and a symbol of the new strength of the new India.”
The Prime Minister also said that infrastructure is the biggest source of a nation's strength. He informed that the government is working on every aspect of modern connectivity for the last 6 years. It is focussing on the five wheels of highways, railways, airways, waterways and i-ways. This inauguration of a large section of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor is a big step in this direction.
Stressing on the need for these dedicated freight corridors, Modi said as the population and economy grew, the demand on freight also increased manifold. Since both passenger trains and goods trains ply on the same track, the speed of the goods train is slow. When the speed of the goods train is slow and there is an interruption, the cost of transportation will be high.
He added, “Being expensive, our products lose the competition in our own markets as well as abroad. The Dedicated Freight Corridor was planned to change this situation. Initially, 2 Dedicated Freight Corridors were planned. The Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor from Ludhiana to Dankuni has coal mines, thermal power plants and industrial cities. Feeder routes are also being made for these.
“In the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust to Dadri, ports like Mundra, Kandla, Pipavav, Dawri and Hazira would be served through feeder routes. The industrial corridor of Delhi-Mumbai and Amritsar-Kolkata are being developed around both these Freight Corridors. Similarly, North to South and East to West Corridors are also being planned,” he further informed.
The Prime Minister said that with such dedicated freight corridors, problems of delayed passenger trains would be resolved. With this, the speed of the freight train would also increase 3 times and it would be able to carry double the volume of goods.
He added, “When goods trains arrive on time, the cost of our logistics network would be cheaper, which, in turn, would benefit our exports. It would create a better atmosphere, ease of doing business would increase and India would become an attractive place to invest and many new opportunities for self-employment will also be created.”
Modi said that industries, businessmen, farmers/consumers, all will benefit from this Dedicated Freight Corridor. He emphasised that the Freight Corridor will boost eastern India which is left behind industrially.
He also notified that about 60% of the corridor falls in Uttar Pradesh (UP). Hence, it would attract a lot of industries towards this state. “Kisan Rail would be benefited due to this dedicated freight corridor. Farmers can send their produce through rail to any big markets across the country, safely and at a low price. Now, through this Freight corridor, their produce would reach even faster. In UP, a lot of storage and cold storage facilities have come up due to Kisan Rail.”
Modi lamented the huge delays in the past in the implementation of the Dedicated Freight Corridor. He, however, said, “After the formation of the government in 2014, as a result of constant monitoring and meeting with the stakeholders about 1100 km of the work got completed in the next few months. Not much investment was done regarding modernisation of the rail network. This was changed with the elimination of separate rail budgets and investing in the rail track. The Government focussed on widening and electrification of the rail network and elimination of unmanned rail crossings.
The Prime Minister urged to keep the country's infrastructural development away from politics. He said that country's infrastructure should be a mission to benefit many generations, not 5 years of politics. “If political parties have to compete, there should be competition in the quality of infrastructure, competition on speed and scale,” he asserted.
He also advised against damaging public property during demonstrations and movements and urged people not to forget their obligation to the nation while expressing their democratic rights.