Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu, who quit railways portfolio in 2017 after two rail accidents, said initiatives taken by him during his three-year stint are now yielding results.
Prabhu said measures were taken for increasing capital investments, track renewal and improving passenger convenience.
“Railways spent Rs 2.75 lakh crore in the first three years (2014-17) as opposed to Rs 3 lakh crore cumulative in first 70 years. So that was the capital expenditure and now you are seeing the results of that,” he told PTI in an interview.
He said in the three years, when he was the railways minister, all the backlog of track renewal was completed.
“We almost covered the backlog (of track renewal). So now you are actually seeing the result of that. There is hardly any derailment…We did things to ensure safety,” he added.
He said before that railways had not done any track renewal which is critical for avoiding derailments and due to that there was huge backlog for track renewal.
“So all kinds of transformational agenda for railways which we initiated at that time were actually complete. So I am happy that when I left railways, everything was on stream,” the minister said.
He also said the proposal to run Train 18, now called as Vande Bharat Express and billed as India’s fastest train, was announced by him in his rail budget, which was the last rail budget. After that it was merged with the general budget.
Prabhu quit the railways ministry in 2017 following two train derailments, taking moral responsibility for the accidents. He took over the railways portfolio in November 2014. Piyush Goyal is currently heading the railways ministry.