Bhubaneswar: Railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday launched the much-awaited free high speed Wi-Fi service in the city railway station here, the second in the country after Mumbai.
Speaking on the occasion, Prabhu said the BJP led NDA government has given priority to the development of the nation as well as the socio-economic development of the people.
“The topmost priority in the development of the country is the development of the railway sector,” he added.
The Union minister said his government had decided to enable free Wi-Fi services in 400 A1 and A category stations in the country. Of this, a target has been sent to enable the service in 100 railway stations this year through Railtel Corporation of India (a Miniratna enterprise of Government of India focusing on providing broadband and VPN services).
“After the launch of the first Wi-Fi service in Mumbai Central Railway Station, there were plans to launch this service at the major railway stations in Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata etc. But I had insisted that the next railway station to be provided with the service will be in the Odisha capital as this state, despite its major revenue contribution to the railways, has remained neglected since long. It has been decided to include two more stations in Odisha – Cuttack and Puri – in the list of 100 stations where free Wi-Fi service would be enabled this year. Puri Railway station will have the facility before the ensuing Rath Yatra,” he said.
Stating that his government has partnered with Google to provide Internet services in 400 A1 and A category stations in the country, Prabhu said the Wi-Fi service by the Railtel Corporation to the people of India is the best in the world.
He said some states like Odisha had remained neglected by the Congress led UPA government at the Centre for years as it had not taken any step to develop railway infrastructure in these states.
For Odisha, the UPA government had allocated Rs 719 crore in the Railway budget in 2012-13, Rs 812 crore in 2013-14. On the contrary, the BJP-led NDA government had allocated Rs 4200 crore for the state in 2015-16 and increased it further to Rs 6000 crore in the current fiscal,” he claimed.
Taking a dig at the UPA government on the issue of shifting of proposed wagon repair workshop at Narla in Kalahandi district, Prabhu said nothing materialises through announcement. To implement the announcement, provisions have to be made in the budget. For Narla wagon repair workshop, the UPA government had not made any budgetary provision, he observed.
“I have had a meeting with chief minister Naveen Patnaik on this matter. As per the decision taken at the meeting, a joint working group has been formed to decide on the type of railway workshop to be set up in Narla after considering the existing infrastructure facilities. The chief secretary of the state and the general manager of East Coast Railway (ECoR) will jointly suggest the Railway Board in this regard,” he said, adding that the Railways will set up a factory which will be financially and commercially viable.
Earlier in the day, police detained 10 Congress activists when they tried to barge into the railway station to show black flags to the Railway minister protesting the shifting of the proposed wagon repair shop from Narla to Vishakhapatnam.