'People-friendly railway budget for 2008-09'

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Bangalore, Feb 2: Union Minister of State for Railways R Velu today assured that the Railway Budget for 2008-09 will be a popular and friendly budget. " I cannot disclose whether there will be hike in fare or freight charges but the budget to be presented by the Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in the Parliament on February 25 will be a people friendly and would be a popular budget", he told a questioner at a press conference here.

To another question about introduction of more Garib Rath in the coming year, Mr Velu said that the Ministry has decided to link all the State Capitals with such train and there is all possibility of introducing more such train. About alleged neglect of local candidates in the recruitment of 'D' group employees, Mr Velu said that there was no neglect on the part of the Railways in recruitment. It was done foolproof and in transperent manner. As per verdict by the Supreme Court anybody from anyplace can apply for the post and there is no local or non-local attached however since the post requires stamina Physical Test was introduced "However, since there is demand from all parts of the country to give preference to locals in recruitment of group 'D' employees the it needs to be discussed at national level to find a solution", he added.

Earlier, the Minister flagged off Garib Rath which runs between Bangalore and Secunderabad. The train will be run thrice a week from Yeswantpur (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and Secunderabad (Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday).

He said that the spirit of Garib Rath is providing AC class travel at affordable rates. The fares on these trains will be about 25 per cent lower than the present AC3 tier fares. The coaches of the Garib Rath comes with coaches with a carrying capacity of 78 passengers as against the conventional 64 berths.

UNI

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