Gowda brings on board reality and dreams

Gowda brings on board reality and dreams

Gowda brings on board reality and dreams

Railway Minister D V Sadananda Gowda’s maiden budget speech was more than just a hard sell of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dreams as it included plans to put on track the country’s ailing rail network.

As directed by his political master, Gowda presented a grim picture of the current state of the Railways and did not mince words on why old methods and ideas did not work.

He also echoed what Modi thought a train travel in India should be and how the experience from buying a ticket to travelling should be easy and modern.

It seems Gowda was told by Modi that he must call a spade a spade and put more thrust than hitherto on passenger amenities, cleanliness and efficient station management.  

More importantly, Gowda, under Modi’s guidance, delivered a strong message to the political class that populism could no longer be pampered. 

“It is unheard of – a business that has a monopoly, that has nearly a 125 crore customer base, that has 100% sale on advance payment; but is still starved of funds.”

Listing the wrong decisions on tariff and undertaking projects beyond capacity, Gowda said this mismanagement and apathy brought Railways into the situation of severe fund crunch for many years.

‘Golden dilemma’

In Gowda's words, “It is a result of the ‘decade of golden dilemma’ – the dilemma of choosing between commercial viability and social viability.”

He was sure that his “esteemed predecessors” were aware of this precarious situation, but they, however, fell prey to the “nasha” of claps in the House when they announced projects, did not raise fares and refused to serve the bitter ‘bill’.

In a show of his government’s determination, Gowda was sure that “the medicine will be bitter in the beginning, but is like nectar in the end.”

“I too can get claps from this august House by announcing many new projects, but that would be rendering injustice to the struggling organisation.

I would like to take claps throughout the year by setting things in order,” declared Gowda. Gowda wants to go down in history as someone who is ready to see the Railways not just as a tool to dish out political favours but as a strong infrastructure of the country, which is as much a service industry, BJP leaders said.

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