New Delhi, November 21 (AFP/Reuters): Indian Railways need an investment of INR 20 trillion (US$ 293.34 billion) by 2020 if it is avoid accepts of the sort which happened last week in which 14 coaches derailed killing 142 passengers.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi this year pledged record levels of investment and has announced a new high-speed line funded by Japan, but little progress has been made on upgrading tracks or installing modern signaling equipment on the main network.
Modi has also shied away from raising highly subsidized fares that leave the railways with next to nothing for investment. Some analysts estimate that the railways need INR 20 trillion ($293.34 billion) of investment by 2020.
The largely colonial-era system, the world’s fourth largest, carries about 23 million people every day. But it is saturated and ageing badly. Average speeds top just 50 km/h and train accidents are common.
Sunday’s crash is a stark reminder of how hard it will be for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fulfil his promise to transform the railways into a more efficient, safer network befitting India’s economic power.