Akin to Vande Bharat trains, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked the Ministry of Railways to come up with "Vande Metro", a train concept to run between two nearby big stations, Minister for Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw said here on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters, he also said Indian Railways has given away Rs 59,000 crore worth of subsidies in the transportation of food grains, fertilizers and many other items last year which is equivalent to 55 per cent concession for every passenger. "Honourable Prime Minister has given the target this year. After the success of Vande Bharat train, (he asked to) develop a new world-class regional train which will be Vande Metro,” he said.
The Minister said they are planning to come out of a prototype within the next 12 to 16 months and then roll it out and run it for at least one year. Explaining the concept of "Vande Metro", he said the trains will be run with high frequency between two cities which are close to less than 100 Km each.
According to him, these kinds of trains are called "Regional trans" in Europe. About Vande Bharat trains, he said in the last two and half years, they run almost 12,00,000 km and every seven to eight days a new train is being introduced. The Railway Minister said the Vande Bharat train between Secunderabad and Visakhapatnam is running very well with almost 120 per cent occupancy prompting the department to introduce more routes in Telangana.
Rebuking the reports that railways are being privatised, Vaishnaw said the Central government is doing whatever is good for the Ministry and "there is absolutely no question of privatization." He said the Centre has plans to develop Hyderabad city as a hub for 6G and advanced railway technologies such as AI, machine Learning and IoT.
"So Centres of Excellence are being developed within Hyderabad for these two important very futuristic technologies," he said. On the recently presented Union Budget, the minister said it is one of the most important budgets that has ever been presented in this country when the entire world is going through a very difficult and uncertain time. He said the budget has given more allocation to railways in Telangana and if the state government cooperates, there would be much more funds.