New Delhi, Feb 26 : Railway Minister Lalu Prasad today announced a cash surplus of over Rs 25,000 crore for new initiatives including e-ticketing for waitlisted passengers and a rail ticket for Mumbai suburbans through a "Go Mumbai Card."
Presenting his fifth consecutive Railway Budget, Lalu said the total cash surplus for the last four years stood at a whopping Rs 68,778 crore.
He further said that the sapling he had sown would grow into a mighty tree and bear fruit.
''The world today acknowledges that I have done a tremendous job in bringing crores of rupees into the coffers of the Railways,'' he added.
Yadav also announced plans for installation of escalators in 50 per cent of the railway stations in the country.
He also said that from now onwards, all passenger coaches would be made of stainless steel. Onboard cleaning would be done on Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains, and not just on stations.
"The Railways would now have digital display on train arrivals and departures on most of the stations," he added.
Freight loading is estimated to go up substantially from 650 million tonnes to 1100 million tonnes by 2011.
Indian Railways runs over 14,000 trains a day and cutting fares would help tackle price pressures and woo voters ahead of general elections next year. ast year, Lalu had cut freight rates for a string of fuels and minerals by between 5-6 per cent, and outlined plans to modernise the century-and-a-half-old network, one of the worlds largest. According to analysts, the rail network now has a cash surplus of nearly 2.5 billion dollars. he Railway Ministry is trying to increase its share of freight by cutting costs and turnaround times, appealing to businesses frustrated by the slow movement of goods.