We’ll augment infrastructure on West Coast: Suresh Prabhu

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Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday said his ministry would strengthen the Railways infrastructure in the West Coast, including in Mangaluru, for the overall development of the region. He urged trade bodies to join hands with the Railways to take the mission further.

Mr. Prabhu was speaking at the valedictory function of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) here. Saying that the thrust of the NDA government was to encourage entrepreneurship, the Minister said the country is poised to become the largest economy in the world in a few years.

He said the Ministry had spent about Rs. 1 lakh crore the previous financial year to augment infrastructure and is prepared to spend another Rs. 1 lakh crore on the high-speed rail project. Another Rs. 85,000 crore will be spent on dedicated freight corridors, he said.

Stating that the West Coast is the only one of its kind in the world, abundant with natural resources and scenic beauty, Mr. Prabhu said it has to witness all-round development. Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd. (KRCL) has already taken up doubling of the track between Roha in Maharashtra and Thokur near Surathkal, Karnataka.

‘Work together’

KRCL also believes in social development of the region and has established two institutes —the George Fernandes Institute of Tunnel Technology in Panaji and the Ramakrishna Hegde Skill Development Training Institute in Udupi — to usher in social development. He urged organisations like KCCI to join hands with the Railways, and particularly KRCL, for expanding the horizons of trade and industry through activities such as vendor development.

He also said the ministry would be procuring steel and cement worth lakhs of crores rupees in the coming years to augment the infrastructure. “All procurement will be done transparently through e-tendering. If anyone comes across corrupt practices, one may intimate me to initiate stringent action,” he said.

Mr. Prabhu lauded the role of the chamber in the overall development of coastal Karnataka and said the Centre believes in encouraging entrepreneurship.

Lok Sabha member Nalin Kumar Kateel, District in-charge Minister B. Ramanath Rai, Mangaluru South MLA J.R. Lobo, KCCI president Rammohan Pai Maroor, secretary Vatika Pai, vice-president Jeevan Saldanha and others were present.