Aurangabad: As many as 200 railway stations across the country will get a facelift with modern amenities, Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said here on Monday. He attended the foundation stone laying ceremony for a coach maintenance factory at the Aurangabad railway station in central Maharashtra. “Tendering process for 47 railway stations is completed while physical work has started at 32 stations,” he said.
He said the railways is being transformed. “The government has prepared a master plan to revamp 200 railway stations. Overhead spaces will be created on the stations which will have world-class facilities including waiting lounges and food courts, besides amusement facilities for children,” the minister said.
Vaishnaw also said that railway stations will act as the “platform” for the sale of regional products. Speaking on the contribution of the Marathwada region in Maharashtra in the making of Vande Bharat trains, the minister said, “The country will have 400 ‘Vande Bharat’ trains in future and 100 of these trains will be manufactured in the coach factory at Latur in Marathwada. The necessary changes in the factory are already being made”.
Currently, three Vande Bharat trains are operational and the latest one, between Mumbai Central-Gandhinagar, was launched last week.
The first coaches of the upgraded version of Vande Bharat will roll out from Marathwada Rail Coach Factory at Latur in 13 to 14 months, he said. “Newly launched Vande Bharat trains have generated interest outside India too and therefore coaches required for them will be manufactured at the Marathwada factory. All necessary preparations have been completed. As many as 1,600 coaches will be manufactured at the factory,” Vaishnaw said.
The rail coach factory in Latur will provide a fillip to development of Marathwada and due to it, other related projects will also be set up and employment will be generated on a large scale, the minister said.
Vaishnaw said the government doesn’t give the reason regarding the ‘Rate of Return’ for sanctioning of a project. He said all parts of the country are now being connected either by highways or railways under the PM Gati Shakti scheme, and parts of Marathwada will also be linked.
The coach maintenance facility in Aurangabad has the capacity of 18 coaches, but Maharashtra Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council, Ambadas Danve, demanded that this capacity be expanded to cater to 24 coaches. Vaishnaw instructed officials to review Danve’s demand and send a proposal in the next 15 days.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Railways and Jalna MP, Raosaheb Danve said the Central government has sanctioned Rs 11,000 crore for Maharashtra, which was Rs 1,100 crore earlier. Union Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat Karad demanded to undertake high-speed railway projects along the newly undertaken Aurangabad-Pune Expressway.
Aurangabad MP Imtiaz Jaleel demanded the ROR condition be kept aside while sanctioning projects for regions like Marathwada. Lok Sabha MP from Latur Sudhakar Shrangare and former state minister Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar, both BJP members, thanked Vaishnaw and junior Railway minister Raosaheb Danve for Latur getting the rail coach factory. Nilangekar said, “The rail coach factory is the first such facility in Maharashtra.”
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