Railway Budget will be pro-people, target for new lines

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Bangalore, Feb 11 (UNI) Hinting that passenger fares will not be hiked in the coming Railway Budget, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad today said he would present another 'pro-people' budget.

Speaking after inaugurating the state's first 'Model Station' at Yesvanthpur in the city, he said priority would be given to increase the number of General Coaches and leverage more comforts to commuters.

Indian Railways had set a target to add about 4000 km of new lines, including expansion and widening, in the coming fiscal and it had achieved a turn-around in the last five years and paid dividend to the Indian Government.

Stating that the Indian Railways had a proposal to introduce aluminium coaches for goods trains, Mr Lalu Prasad said this would help to reduce about 40 per cent of operation costs besides increase the efficiency and carriage capacity.

Mr Lalu Prasad, who would be presenting his fourth successive rail budget on February 26 said that the Indian Railways had won a global recognition for its robust performance.

''The Indian Railways has surpassed the revenue target for 2007-08 by over 20 per cent. It runs over 11000 trains, has 7500 stations, manned by over 14.5 lakh employees and over 1.5 crore passengers travel everyday,'' he said.

The Rakesh Singh Committee on reforms on Indian Railways had submitted its report and he had disagreed with its recommendations to reduce the staff by 20 per cent. ''The observation of the Committee on the reduction of staff is not acceptable,'' he stated.

The Railway Minister also flagged off the extended service of Ajmer-Bangalore bi-weekly express to Mysore, inaugurated vending machines and booking counters.


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