Mamata said to reporters,"I would like to bring out the humane face of the railways." She also said,"I would like to issue free passes to students and vendors. I want commercialisation of railways but commercialisation with human face. What is the use if there is no human resource".
Industry will watch her moves closely as she has led major protests at Singur near Kolkata against what she termed was forcible acquisition of land from farmers for the small car project of Tata Motors, Tata Nano. The protests resulted in the company shifting the car project out of West Bengal.
The first tasks for her will be to present a regular rail budget, an area which Lalu Prasad former railway minister made a mark by earning surplus cash before dividend of over Rs.90,000 crore (Rs.900 billion or $18 billion) in the five years when he was in the position of leadership.
Banerjee will oversee how to expand India's rail network of 108,706 km, on which run more than 11,000 trains daily, including 7,000 for passengers, to ferry 14 million travellers. There are 6,853 stations in the country.
When first elected to Lok Sabha in 1984, Mamata was barely 30-yrs old. She was the Railway minister between Oct 13, 1999 and Mar 16, 2001, but seldom served her full terms as minister.