ICCI welcomes Railway Budget

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Kochi, Feb 26 (UNI) The Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) today welcomed the Railway Budget presented by Union Minister Lalu Prasad and hailed the Ministry's initiatives for Kerala.

In a statement here, Chamber President R Mohandas said ''it is gratifying the Union Minister has categorically announced that a new coach factory would be set up in Kerala for which the state government has made available 1,000 acres of land.'' The financial help extended for the rail connectivity to the Vallarpadom Container Trans Shipment Terminal (CTST) was of great significance for Kochi, Mr Mohandas said.

On the allotment of four new trains, Mr Mohandas said ''it would have been just and reasonable if more trains were granted considering the growing passenger traffic in the State.'' The profit of Rs 25,000 crore in the current fiscal had prompted the minister for a nominal cut in passenger fare and five per cent reduction in freight charges on petrol and diesel, he added.

However, he lamnented that the long-pending demand for sub-urban trains had been overlooked and the doubling and electrification works had been progressing slowly in the State.

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