Lalu signs technology pact with Italian firm | india | Hindustan Times
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Lalu signs technology pact with Italian firm

india Updated: Jul 03, 2006 16:07 IST

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, currently in Rome on an official visit, signed a pact on Monday with Italian state-owned Ferrovie Dello Stato SpA for technical collaboration.

Lalu is half way through his 15-day tour of European countries to study the high speed transport systems.

He has already been to Britain, France and Austria.

Referring to the deal with Ferrovie Dello Stato SpA, an official said, "This is part of our efforts to source technology to improve the safety aspects of Indian Railways through better signalling and other aspects.

"The cooperation memorandum with the Ferrovie Dello Stato would help us in accessing new technology to improve passenger safety."

After Italy, the minister, who is accompanied by several high-level railway officials, would be visiting Germany before winding up the first official trip overseas.

"While India has completed the feasibility of setting up a high speed railway corridor from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, the project is yet to take off due to safety and cost concerns.

The railway minister will be able to study first hand the operational aspects of such high speed trains as also seek collaboration," the official said.

In Britain, the railway minister had meetings with several important transport officials, including the CEO of Network Rail and managing director of London Rail.

In France, he visited the most advanced high speed TVG Train depot and held talks with the chairman of the French Railway and the International Union of Railways.

A visit to Italian railway facilities, a trip on the high capacity train to Naples and a meeting with the chairman of Deutche Bahn (German railway) are on his itinerary.

After turning the railways around with an annual profit of Rs 113.50 billion, the railway minister is keen to invest the surplus funds to upgrade the system to become the best in the world, sources said.

For achieving this vision, technical and financial inputs are essential inputs, underlined railway officials.