Modi’s right, railways too vital to privatise


Prime Minister Narendra Modi could not have been more emphatic when he assured the railway unions that there was no way that the government was going to privatise the Indian Railways and asked the unions not to be afraid of foreign direct investment or private sector investment in the growth of the railways.

The unions should not worry about this, he said, quelling rumours that Indian Railways which has the second-largest network in the world, would be privatised or corporatised. The unions were worried that freight handling would be privatised; this would have been disastrous as freight is the bread and butter of the railways.

These rumours of privatisation only give the Opposition parties, particularly the Left, a handle with which to beat the government, so Mr Modi’s denial has been welcomed.

If any proof is needed that privatisation is not an answer to the efficient running of the railways, there is the example of British Rail which was privatised. Not only did fares go through the roof but the government had to take over the running of infrastructure as private parties cut corners in laying tracks, leading to accidents.

And, according to a former railway board member, after an accident the lawyers arrived at the accident scene first, rather than the ambulances, because the lawyers had to establish liability. More info

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