Railways to welcome private investment in infrastructure development

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New Delhi, Feb 24 (ANI): Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said Indian Railways is ready for public private partnership which would help to develop railway infrastructure as well as promoting industrial activities.

Presenting the Railway Budget in the Parliament, Banerjee said: "In order to promote industrial activity, the Indian Railways would welcome investment through public private partnership (PPP) mode for providing rail connectivity to important ports."

She also announced that additional 2,000 kilometres routes would be electrified within two years.

Work on adding another 12,000 kilometres in existing Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) network of the Railways is in progress, she said.

The balance 15,000 kilometres is proposed to be taken through public-private investment mode, thus covering entire railway network.

Announcing up-gradation and modernization of the Kolkata Metro, the only metro with Indian Railways, Banerjee said: "Metro Station at Park Circus, Maidan, M.G. Road, Chandni Chowk and Rash Behari will be remodeled and network will be extended at four sections."

She also announced augmentation of sub-urban train services in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

Banerjee proposed special trains - Sanskriti Express, across the country, to mark 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore.

She also announced ladies special trains Matribhoomi Express in Kolkata, Chennai, New Delhi and Mumbai and Karmabhoomi trains, unreserved trains for common people between Darbhanga-Mumbai, Guwahati-Mumbai and New Jalpaiguri-Amritsar.

Similarly, Janmabhoomi Trains specially for uniformed persons, between Ahmedabad and Udhampur, Bharat Tirth trains for tourists connecting popular sites in different parts of the country will be introduced during the year.

She also proposed four new Durontos trains between Chandigarh and Amritsar, between Chennai and Coimbatore, between Puri and Howrah and between Howrah and Digha.

Reiterating Government's commitment for the common man, Banerjee announced that there will be no increase in passenger fares of any class and in freight tariffs.

In spite of tight resource position, the Railways has also proposed to reduce an amount of Rs.100 per wagon in freight charges for food-grains and domestic use of kerosene as a gesture to common man.

The Minister also announced reduction of service charges maximum to Rs.10 for Sleeper Class and Rs.20 for AC Class.

She also announced 100 per cent concession for cancer patients going for treatment together with an escort in AC 3 class.

Technicians of regional film industry when travelling for film production related work would also be eligible for 75 percent concession in second sleeper and 50 percent concession on other classes in all trains.

The Minister also announced that concession under Izzat scheme, for press correspondents and students of madrasas will continue.(ANI)

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