Mamata presents passenger friendly Railway budget

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New Delhi, Feb 24 (ANI): Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee presented the Railway budget for the year 2010-2011 without any increase in the passenger fares for the second consecutive time.

The Rail Budget reduced the service charges for e-tickets and freight charges for foodgrains.

Banerjee has proposed Rs.41,426 crore, the highest ever plan investment to provide efficient, customer focused and modern railway network.

Out of this allocation, Rs.4,411 crore have been proposed to achieve the target of 1,000 kms. for new lines and Rs.1,302 crore for passenger amenities.

The plan would be financed through gross budgetary support of Rs.15,875 crore, diesel cess of Rs.877 crore, internal resources of Rs,14,523 crore and EBR of Rs.10,151 crore including market borrowing through IRFC of Rs.9,120 crore.

In her budget address, Banerjee said, the Railway is committed to take up socially desirably projects connecting backward areas of the country.

"Surveys for 114 projects for such areas will be updated and surveys for 55 new lines will be taken up during the year," Banejee said.

She said that 800 kilometre gauge conversion and 700 kilometre of doubling the rail line will be achieved during the year besides a number of new projects on cost sharing with state governments or through public private partnership method.

Banerjee also proposed 52 new train services to meet increasing demand of passengers, increase in frequency of 12 train services, extension of 21 trains and introduction of some special trains.

Reiterating the Government's commitment to provide efficient railway network within the reach of common man, Banerjee said the target has been set to add 25,000 km of new lines in next 10 years.

A Special Task Force (STF) to clear proposals for investments within 100 days will be set up, policy guidelines will be made easy, simple and investment friendly so that business community can join hands to build partnership with the Railways.

Banerjee also assured the House that that investment form business community does not mean that Railway is going for privatisation and it would remain a Government organization.

Highlighting the initiatives taken recently, Banerjee said that within a span of seven months, significant achievements have been made.

She announced that out of 120 new trains, extensions and increase in frequencies announced in last budget, 117 would be flagged off by the end of 2010.

Special drive for improving passenger amenities and cleanliness has been taken up.

She said that the railway catering policy is under revision to provide better food and announced the setting up of six bottling plants to be set up to provide clean drinking water.

Banerjee announced that 94 new stations will be developed as Adarsh Stations and 10 more stations will be upgraded as world class stations.

She also announced construction of another 93 multi-functional complexes and to develop multi-level parking complex through public-private partnership model. (ANI)

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