Velu promises popular budget, more "Garib Raths"

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Bangalore, Feb 2 (UNI) Union Minister of State for Railways R Velu today assured that the Railway Budget for 2008-09 will be ''popular and friendly''.

''I cannot disclose whether there will be hike in fare or freight charges but the budget to be presented by Railway Minister Lalu Yadav on February 25 will be a people friendly and popular,'' he said at a press conference here.

To another question about introduction of more ''Garib Rath'' trains next year, Mr Velu said the ministry has decided to link the state capitals with such trains and there was every possibility of this.

About alleged neglect of local candidates in the recruitment of 'D' group employees, Mr Velu said there was no neglect on the part of the Railways in recruitment. It was done in a foolproof and transperent manner.

As per the verdict of the Supreme Court, anybody from any place can apply for the post and there is ''no local or non-local TAG'' attached to it. As the post requires stamina, physical examination was introduced.

''However, since there is demand from all parts of the country to give preference to locals in recruitment of group 'D' employees, it needs to be discussed at national level to find a solution'', he added.

Earlier, Mr Velu flagged off a ''Garib Rath'' train between Bangalore and Secunderabad. The train will be running three times a week from Yeswantpur on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It will leave Secunderabad on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

He said the spirit of Garib Rath is providing AC class travel at affordable rates. The fares of these trains will be about 25 per cent lower than the regular fares.


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