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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

Wi-Fi in trains not cost-effective, will drop plan, Goyal tells Upper House

The railways has, however, said while 1,606 stations across railways’ network already have free Wi-Fi, it will be extended to the remaining 4,791 stations within this year .

india Updated: Jun 30, 2019 07:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
Goyal also said the railways has no plans to privatise the national transporter or its premium trains such as Rajdhani and Shatabdi express, amid speculation that there was a proposal to rope in private operators.
Goyal also said the railways has no plans to privatise the national transporter or its premium trains such as Rajdhani and Shatabdi express, amid speculation that there was a proposal to rope in private operators. (HT Photo)
         

The ministry of railways has dropped plans to provide Wi-Fi facility on running trains, the Centre said on Friday.

In a reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, railways minister Piyush Goyal said as a pilot project, the railways provided Wi-Fi-based internet facility in Howrah-Rajdhani train through satellite communication technology. “This technology was capital intensive with recurring cost in the form of bandwidth charges and thus was not cost effective. Also, the internet bandwidth availability to passengers was inadequate. Hence, the project was dropped,” he said.

The railways has, however, said while 1,606 stations across railways’ network already have free Wi-Fi, it will be extended to the remaining 4,791 stations within this year.

Goyal also said the railways has no plans to privatise the national transporter or its premium trains such as Rajdhani and Shatabdi express, amid speculation that there was a proposal to rope in private operators.

Responding to a query on the privatisation of these trains and the entire network, Goyal told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply that “no plan has been made”.

The ministry in its 100-day plan has proposed that it will offer two trains to IRCTC, to operate on haulage concept, with ticketing, onboard services to be provided by them.The plan proposed that the trains will run on important routes like the Golden Quadrilateral and Diagonals and connecting major cities.

Replying to another question , Goyal said the estimated total cost of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail project, including the cost of rolling stock, is ₹1,08,000 crore, out of which 81% price will be funded through the loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency . The project is to be completed by 2023. “Twenty-four train sets have been planned for procurement from Japanese firms...,” he said.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Jun 28, 2019 23:54 IST

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