Lalu sees Railway creating history during UPA rule

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New Delhi, May 26 (UNI) Railway Minister Lalu Prasad today said his organisation had set the target of earning Rs. 31,000 crore as a cash surplus and 875 million tonnes of freight loading for the year 2008-09.

''And by achieving these targets, the Railways will create a new history by earning Rs. 1,00,000 crore during the five years of UPA Government,'' he said addressing a meeting of the General Managers of all Zonal Railways and Production Units.

The Minister congratulated the 14 lakh railway employees for earning cash surplus of Rs 25,000 crore and carrying the highest ever loading of 795 million tonnes during the year 2007-08.

He said the Railways had already created a record by achieving the highest ever incremental loading of 67 million tonnes during 2007-08 and shall strive to make another record by achieving the target of 86 million tonnes of incremental loading during the year 2008-09.

''In order to achieve this difficult goal, all General Managers should make personnel efforts to take various measures like reduction in wagon turnaround time from the existing 5 days to 4 days, setting up of new goods' sheds besides renovation of all existing goods' sheds, introducing 24 hour loading-unloading facility at most of the goods-sheds, reducing the loading and unloading time from 16 to 13 hours and 17 to 14 hours respectively,'' said Mr Prasad.

He called for declaring 2008 as a year of 'Improvement of facilities in Goods-shed's&Terminals and setting up of new Goods-sheds'.

The Minister said that till date goods trains with 23 ton-axle load were running over 22,000 kilometres route and those with 25 ton-axle loads on 2000 kilometres route, but, as announced in the Budget, efforts should be made to run goods trains with 25 ton-axle load on 5000 kilometres route and expansion of running of goods trains with 23 ton-axel load on rest of the routes.

He emphasised the need for increasing occupancy in passenger trains by adding 1200 additional coaches in all popular trains during the year 2008-09.

The Minister called upon the GMs to take up the work on war footing for the implementation of all the important announcement he made during his budget speech.

These include the provision of cushioned seats in General 2nd class coaches, increasing the length of platforms, construction of foot-over bridge on more and more stations, availability of modern passenger amenities at 320 stations, installation of 2500 UTS and ATVM machines each at the stations, increasing advertisement earnings from Rs. 180 crore to Rs. 360 crore during 2008-09 by allowing advertisements on all popular trains and Railway Stations and also take all possible measures to increase safety and security of passengers.

Also present on the occasion were the Ministers of State for Railways, Naranbhai J Rathwa, R Velu, Chairman, Railway Board K C Jena and other Board Members.

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