Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Thursday that his government did not wish to privatise the railways.
Speaking at a function at the DLW stadium here to lay the foundation stone for the expansion of a locomotive workshop, Modi said canards were being spread about the railways’ impending privatisation.
“A lot of rumours are being spread about the possible privatization but do not pay heed to them,” the prime minister told a gathering of officers, railway employees and Varanasi residents.
The crowd responded by clapping.
Striking an emotive tone and referring to his childhood days when he sold tea at a railway station in Gujarat, Modi said nobody could love the railways more than him.
“We don’t see railways only as a means to travel. We see it as the backbone of India’s development,” he said.
“What we want to do is to put more money for development of railways. This will help.”
Modi said the railways formed a top priority for his government.
The prime minister added that his government would set up railway universities in all four parts of India.
“We have to take the railways ahead and through the railways we have to take the nation ahead.”
He said that since becoming the prime minister in May, “most of the time I end up talking about railways”.
Earlier, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said Modi had identified railways as a priority sector and that very soon a blueprint of action plan for the years ahead would be issued.