No increase in Railway passenger fares: Mamata

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New Delhi, Feb 25 (ANI): Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday announced that there will be no increase in passenger fairs and that the physically challenged people can enjoy concession in Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains.

Presenting the Railway Budget for 2011-12, Banerjee announced the introduction of over 200 new routes, especially for the North-East.

"New Duronto trains will be introduced on Allahabad-Mumbai, Pune-Ahmedabad, Sealdah-Puri, Madurai-Chennai, Chennai- Thiruvananthapuram and Mumbai Central- New Delhi routes. Three new Shatabdi trains will be introduced on Pune-Secunderabad, Jaipur- Agra and Ludhiana-Delhi routes," said Banerjee.

"As many as 47 additional trains will be introduced for the Mumbai suburban section and nine for Chennai. Double-decker air-conditioned trains will run Jaipur-Delhi and Ahmedabad-Mumbai routes," she added.eclaring that one of the main objectives of her ministry is to bring social revolution to rail connectivity, Banerjee proposed a non-lapsable fund for socially desirable projects under the name of 'Pradhan Mantri Rail Vikas Yojana'.

She also proposed an increase of Rs. 771 crore to connect the underdeveloped areas of Orissa, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Bihar and Maharashtra through rail network.

" A non-lapsable Fund for Railway projects in the northeast region has also been proposed and all the state capitals of the region except Sikkim will be connected by railway network in the next seven years," she said.

Stating that safety is the first priority of the Railways, Banerjee said that Anti Collision device (ACD) will be deployed on more routes, now it will cover 8 zonal railways.

Expressing concern over loss of rail properties during various agitations in recent past, she announced that the States, which will ensure trouble-free train running for the whole year, would be awarded with two new trains and two projects as a special package.

Declaring 2011-12 as a 'Year of Green Energy' for Railways, the Minister proposed free supply of 14 lakh CFLs to railway households, increase use of solar energy at LC gates, stations etc., use of bio-diesel, CNG and LNG in locomotives.

Announcing the measures for the welfare of railway employees, the Minister proposed extension of medical facilities to dependent parents, increase in the scholarship for the girl child of gangmen and group 'D' employees to Rs. 1,200 per month for higher education, 20 new hostels for children of railway employees and restructuring of all the cadres to provide adequate promotional opportunities. She also proposed a separate sports cadre for railway employees.ighlighting the efforts being made for the recruitment of staff in railway, Banerjee said that 1.75 lakh posts in Group 'C' and 'D' are being filled up and steps have been taken to fill up about 13,000 posts in Railway Protection Force.

Stating that the Indian Railways is passing through difficult financial phase, Banerjee said that, 6th Pay Commission's Recommendations have heavily impacted internal resource generation of the Railways. (ANI)

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