Railways budget for 2008/2009 to be people friendly: Lalu

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Krishnagar/Kolkata, Nov 24 (UNI) Railway Minister Lalu Prasad today said he would place a ''people friendly Railway budget'' for 2008/2009 in February.

''Agla budget janata ke liye hoga'' Mr Lalu said while addressing a gathering after inaugurating the 127.67 km-long newly-laid electrified and renovated line between Krishnagar, some 100 km from north of Kolkata, and Lalgola on Sealdah division of Eastern Railway.

Mr Prasad said efforts were on to convert all metre gauge lines into broad gauge to cope with rapidly increasing freight traffic across the country.

He said his Ministry was making all efforts to improve infrastructural facilities so that Railways could be made a truly lifeline of the country.

Mr Prasad said making double line for goods train and increasing rakes for freight traffic were some of the main trusts.

Taking a dig at the adversaries, the RJD leader said the Railways in last year made a profit of Rs 20,000 crore, adding in the coming years more money would go to the government exchequer from the Railways.

He said he did not need any advice for his Railway budget as he would again place a '' common people friendly railway budget'', in February. Mr Prasad also announced that the next rail budget would incorporate more facilities for the common man.

The RJD leader also announced new trains between Murshidabad and Kolkata and Patna-Kolkata, the latter would be commissioned by a month and former to be named Hazarduary Express.

Later, Mr Prasad returned to Kolkata station and flagged off Kolkata-Balurghat tri-weekly Express and Pratham swatantrata Sangram Express between Barrackpore and Jhanshi in Uttar Pradesh.

Kolkata-Balurghat Express, first of its kind connecting between headquarters of South Dinajpur and Kolkata, was immediately renamed as The Bhagha Express after local people demanded, added Mr Prasad.

Pratham Swatantrata Sangram Express was dedicated to first freedom fighters and myrters like Mongal Pandey and Rani Jhanshi Laxmibai, the Railway Minister said.

Mr Prasad also announced for laying a third line between Ludhiana and Kolkata for improvement of network, that would ease freight service.

Earlier, Mr Prasad laid a foundation stone for new broad gauge lines between Krishnagar and Charatala, covering a distance of 12.8 km at an estimated cost of Rs 57.5 crore.


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