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No hike in passenger fares, freight charges: Rail Budget

Amid expectations of improvement in railway amenities, railway minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday presented the 15th Railway Budget in Parliament.

Presenting a promised ‘pro-people’ budget, the railway minister said that economic viability is not the only index of development, according top priority to social commitment.

She went on to add, “People expect to get better rail and train facilities. Development should not be restricted to only few people. People want better connectivity between stations in the nation. My priorities will include better passenger amenities, safety and security and provision of good quality food and drinking water”.

No hike in passenger fares and freight rates, non-stop trains between a host of key stations, air-conditioned double-decker trains for inter-city travel, sale of tickets at 5,000 post offices and automatic vending machines at 200 stations were the highlights of her Budget.

Mamata added that an expert committee would be set up to advise her on implementation of the so-called economically unviable but socially desired projects

Presenting the Railway Budget for 2009-10, Mamata Banerjee said that 12 non-stop intercity air-conditioned trains will be introduced. She also announced proposals for introduction of 57 new trains, improvement in passenger amenities and upgrading some 300 stations to global standards.

To facilitate working women facing difficulties in travelling to their workplaces, Mamata announced introduction of ‘Only Ladies’ EMU train services.

Mamata Banerjee introduced low-cost, air-conditioned ‘Yuva Trains’ dedicated to the generation next. The trains, with only sitting accommodation, will also benefit low-income groups. Banerjee announced the launch of the Izzat scheme for the unorganized sector workers- Rs 25 pass up to 100km journey

Banerjee also said that multi-function complexes will be set up in 50 station premises. “Fifty stations will be developed into world class facilities,” she said naming those at Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Varanasi Guwahati, Chennai, Mangalore, Porbundar and Kochi, among others. .”Multi-functional complexes with shopping facilities, food stalls, budget hotels will be constructed at these 50 railway stations that serve as centres of pilgrimage, tourist and industry,” she said.

375 stations would be upgraded into model facilities, said Mamata.

Other proposals in Mamata’s Railway Budget included all passenger trains to henceforth have a doctor on board, ticketing and reservation systems to be expanded to cover 800 new locations in addition to 800 existing ones, along with automatic vending machines at 200 locations.

Rules for student concession will be relaxed, said Mamata. She also had sops for the media covering the railways. Members of the press, she said, will get an enhanced concession of 50% instead of existing 30%, and once a year, their spouses, too, can also travel with 50 concession.

The “tatkal” or instant ticketing scheme, under which people could buy tickets five days before the date of journey, can now do so three days before departure, the railway minister said. The service charges under the scheme have been lowered from Rs 150 to Rs 100.

She also announced extensive availability of “Janata Khana” (food for average people) in which national and regional cuisines will be ensured. To improve cleanliness, onboard house keeping scheme will cover 200 additional pairs of trains.

This is Mamata Banerjee’s first Rail Budget for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and third in her political career.

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July 3, 2009 - Posted by | Business, Congress, Economy, Indian Economy, News, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Hmm. Is it true? 🙂

    Comment by macromedia | July 7, 2009 | Reply


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