New Delhi, Sep 23 : Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi, who passed away on Wednesday evening at a hospital here where he was being treated for Covid-19 will always be known for a big smile and warm gestures by his colleagues and friends.
Angadi was made the Minister of State for Railways in May last year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Soon after his appointment as MoS for Railways, he knew that he has to meet the expectations of PM Modi to improve the train services.
During the inaugural run of second Vande Bharat Express train between New Delhi to Katra on October 4 last year, just two months after the abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, he travelled in train with media persons to give a message that the government is standing with the people of J&K for the overall development of the region.
There were around 80 media persons along including the camerapersons to cover the inaugural run of the Vande Bharat Express.
During the trip, Angadi kept on interacting with the media about the plans of the Railway Ministry to bring development in erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
He gave interviews for four consecutive hours without any break and assured that he answered all the tough questions posed to him.
Speaking to IANS on the same trip, Angadi had said, the Indian Railways, which has witnessed delays in completion of several important projects, was aiming to finish all of them by 2022, on the occasion of 75th Independence Day.
He had also said that the national transporter sees the option of allowing private operators to run trains as an opportunity to provide world class services.
Angadi had said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed that all the pending projects and works be completed by 2022. We are focusing on completing pending works, like doubling and tripling of tracks, electrification, installation of CCTVs and signalling system upgrade.”
“New projects will be taken up only after completing them,” Angadi said.
He also favoured giving trains to private operators, and cited the example of private TV channels and said, “The entry of private players will generate more jobs and investment opportunities. In the long run, a lot of development will follow due to the competition.”
In countries like China trains run at 400 kmph. But in India trains were not running even at 160 kmph, he said.
“To compete with the world, we have to opt for investment from many sources. When a private company or people comes and invests in railways, it will create opportunities to develop economy,” he had said.
The railways had last year proposed to corporatise Rae Bareli Modern Rail Coach factory in UP.
On opposition of the Congress and other parties to corporatisation and privatisation of railways’ manufacturing units, the Minister said, “The Congress never thought about development. It has always opposed development.”
“We have not got to think of the Congress, but development and competition, and let the economy grow and create employment opportunities,” Angadi said.
Citing examples, he had said, the national highways remained undeveloped till the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government took it up and today even foreign countries were appreciating them.
Angadi in the railway ministry was also known as one of the most punctual minister. He always came to the ministry on time and ensured that the press briefing started on time.
Angadi represented Belagavi constituency of Karnataka in Lok Sabha.
He first won from the seat in 2004 and remained undefeated from the seat till 2019.
He was also known as a media man, who always remained responsive to the queries of media even late in night.
Following the news of gis death, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said, “Deeply anguished at the unfortunate demise of Suresh Angadiji. He was like my brother. Words fall short to describe his commitment and dedication towards the people. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this hour of need. Om Shanti.”
Angadi Angadi admitted at AIIMS on September 11 after testing positive for Covid-19. He breathed his last on Wednesday evening.