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Suresh Prabhu woos US investors for Indian Railways

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Washington: In a bid to promote cooperation in Indian Railways safety, India and the US have joined hands to work on a road show to woo potential long-term investor.

The US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and visiting Indian Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu disclosed this following a top-level talk on bilateral engagement in the transportation sector. The engagement is a part of the Memorandum of Cooperation signed when Foxx visited India last April.

At the end of a three-day visit on Friday, Prabhu said that there was immense possibilities for knowledge sharing, technology tie-ups and business cooperation between the two nations in the transportation sector.

Prabhu met the Chairman and President of the US EXIM Bank Fred P Hochberg where various issues including the possibility of structuring a financing model that caters to India’s immediate needs and to utilize the upcoming investment and business opportunities in the country’s rail sector, were discussed.

A joint press release stated that both sides have agreed to work on the road show of potential long-term investors who intend to work towards improving India’s infrastructure sector.

Prabhu also met with President and Chief Executive Officer of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) Elizabeth L Littlefield to analyse the prospect of OPIC financing for the Indian Railways.

Prabhu emphasized the significant role of the Indian railways in providing low-cost sustainable transportation. He said this while addressing the World Bank Conference on Transforming Transportation.

The Indian Railways, he said, has embarked on transforming its energy mix by using renewal energy sources like solar and wind energy, and is undertaking energy audits to improve efficiency to meet its sustainability targets.

In his meetings with the World Bank and IFC officials, Prabhu made a presentation on the railway sector to the senior officials of the World Bank Group, showcasing the new initiatives of his ministry and familirising the Bank with various ways to partner with the Indian Railways. He further discussed the Railways’ efforts to expand, modernise, decentralise decision-making, improve efficiency and meet customer expectations.

Both the World Bank and IFC are operating closely with Indian Railways to help it achieve its formidable targets.

At a roundtable conference organised by the US India Business Council, Prabhu described the Indian Railways plans to invest $142 billion in the coming five years. He further expressed hope to double this investment figure in the next five-year cycle.

The senior leadership of the World Resource Institute (WRI) and Prabhu discussed the Indian Railways desire to transform its energy mix. They intend to do that by making railways an eco-friendly organisation through the promotion of use of clean energy and various other initiatives. (Inputs from Agencies) (picture courtesy:dailyamin.com)

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The Families Of Victims In Railway Accident Incident In India Stage Protests

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the accident a "heart-wrenching tragedy" and asked officials to provide immediate assistance to the injured.

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People gather at the site of an accident after a train traveling at high speed ploughed through a crowd of people on rail tracks near Amritsar, India. VOA

Angry relatives of the scores of people who were killed in India when they were run over by a speeding train staged protests Saturday while one of the country’s railway officials maintains the railway is not responsible for the tragic accident.

The train was traveling at high speed when it ploughed through a crowd Friday at a religious festival on the outskirts of the northern city of Amritsar, killing 59 people, Punjab state’s Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, told reporters Saturday. Singh said 57 others were injured and an official investigation would be carried out over the next four weeks.

The Jalandhar-Amritsar express was traveling at 90 kilometers per hour when it hit the crowd, which had gathered on the tracks to watch a fireworks display marking the Hindu festival of Dussehra.

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The Hindu festival of Dussehra.

Hundreds of relatives of the victims engaged in sporadic protests on and near the tracks Saturday, calling for action against local authorities and the train operator, who was questioned Saturday by police.

Authorities moved the protestors off the tracks and brought in reinforcements to control the crowd.

‘No lapse on our part’

The railway accident was India’s worst in years, but the junior minister who manages Indian Railways, the world’s fourth largest rail system, refused to accept responsibility.

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A man mourns next to the burning pyre of a family member who died after a train traveling at high speed ploughed through a crowd of people, at a cremation site in Amritsar, India. VOA

“Railways cannot be blamed. Railways were not informed about the ceremony,” Manoj Sinha told reporters Saturday. Speaking to reporters, Sinha ruled out any punitive action against his staff, saying, “There was no lapse on our part and no action against the driver will be initiated.”

Local government officials said the festival takes place every year on the outskirts of Amritsar and that railroad authorities are alerted to run the trains at slow speeds.

Witnesses said the victims did not realize the train was coming because of the sound of the fireworks and celebrations.

‘Heart-wrenching’

Some witnesses said the train did not sound its whistle as it sped past the festival site.

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With India, Indian Railway is also digitizing, Pixels

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the accident a “heart-wrenching tragedy” and asked officials to provide immediate assistance to the injured.

Also Read: India Continues Engaging With USA Over H-1B Passport Issue

India’s railway network remains the main form of travel in the vast country, where railway accidents are relatively common.

Millions of Hindus celebrate the Dussehra festival by burning giant effigies of the demon Ravana, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil. (VOA)