New Delhi: During the one year of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s term, the ministry of railways has claimed several “new beginnings” and “key reforms”. Among its achievements: More rail track (1,375 km) electrified in one year than ever before; earnings increased 12 percent; more bio-toilets installed; and a feasibility report received from Japan for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train during 2014-15.
Factchecker took a look at the claims and the reality.
1. Twelve percent rise in earnings due to “key reforms”: Earnings lower than previous two years.
Claim: An increase of 12.2 percent increase in earnings during 2014-15 due to “key reforms in railways.
Reality: The 12 percent increase in earnings during 2014-15 compared with 2013-14 is lower than the 19 percent and 12.9 percent respectively, during each of the previous two financial years 2012-13 and 2013-14.
2. Record electrification of rail track: It happens every year
Claim: 1,375 km of railway electrification completed during 2014-15, termed best-ever for Indian Railways.
Reality: Electrification data reveal such records are set every year. The increase in electrification between 2013-2014 and 2014-15 in terms of “route kilometres” is the least when compared to consecutive years over the past eight years (barring 2010-11).
3. Bio-toilets, a key achievement: Yes, since 2009
Claim: Bio-toilets have been stated as key achievements by railways for 2014-15.
Reality: Bio-toilets, which treat human waste instead of letting it on to the tracks, were first installed in 2009: 11,777 bio-toilets have been installed in 4,356 passenger coaches till June 30, 2014.
4. Study Done For Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train: Series of such studies over 13 years
Claim: Feasibility report from Japan on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train.
Reality: Parliament data show a series of feasibility (or pre-feasibility) studies between 2002 and 2015.
5. Helpline is launched: It was ready for launch before UPA quit
Claim: Launching of a security helpline for passengers.
Reality: The plan was first approved for 2010-11 and just before the previous government finished its term, the ground work, including finalising the nodal railway zone (Northern Railway), executing agency, budget (Rs 5.2 crore) and signing an agreement with the telecom ministry, had been done.
6. 108 Adarsh (ideal) stations: Routine since 2009
Claim: Passenger facilities improved at 108 stations under the Adarsh-stations scheme.
Reality: This is a routine affair, since the Adarsh-stations scheme kicked off in 2009 (to provide drinking water, toilets, catering services, waiting rooms and dormitories, especially for female passengers, better signage).
7. Meghalaya gets a rail line: Work has been on for 19 years
Claim: Lumding-Silchar broad gauge section inaugurated, Meghalaya comes on the rail map.
Reality: Gauge conversion work of Lumding-Silchar section started in 1996-97. There was often no money to continue the line or law-and-order problems delayed work. The target date was extended several times over the past few years.
8. World Bank Loan for Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor: Approved by the previous government
Claim: Agreement signed for $1.1-billion loan from the World Bank for the Eastern Dedicated Freight (EDF) corridor.
Reality: The $1.1-billion loan from the World Bank for EDF corridor-II was approved on April 22, 2014, before Modi’s term began. ¦
(In arrangement with IndiaSpend.org, a data-driven, non-profit, public interest journalism platform. Factchecker is a part of IndiaSpend. Manoj K can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)