Rail Budget to be passenger-friendly, says Mamata

New Delhi, Feb 24 (PTI) After giving finishing touchesto the Rail Budget, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee todaysaid it will be a "passenger-friendly budget" dedicated to thecommon man of the country.

Rail Budget 2011-12 will be presented in Parliamenttomorrow.

Without revealing any budget details, she said: "Itwill be people-friendly, passenger-friendly and country-friendly budget."Speculations are rife that the budget may see somemarginal increase in upper class AC fare with sleeper classfare remaining untouched.

Keeping the passengers'' complaints in mind, the budgetis likely to propose a slew of passenger-friendly measureslike setting up of more Janahaar outlets at stations toprovide quality food at reasonable rates.

The budget could also find mention of mega basekitchens in the metros preparing 50,000 to 1 lakh meals perday for train passengers. This would be managed by railwayitself as per the new catering policy, sources said.

The budget could also announce launching off a newSMS-based service to lodge complaints against rail service bypassengers.

In order to provide clean linens to passengers,Railways are likley to announce setting up of mechanisedlaundry service at zonal levels.

The Rail Budget is likley to announce introduction ofabout 100 new trains including a dozen super fast Durontos.

The Budget comes at a time when the Railways arefacing financial crunch with its operating ratio inching closeto 100 level mark. "So there will be a few measures forgeneration of more internal resources," sources said.

Mamata, facing Assembly elections in West Bengal intwo months, could also announce a slew of projects for herstate, including a rail link connecting the busy Howrah andSealdah stations running through the densely populated centraldistricts of Kolkata.

In order to promote cultural activities, Railways arealso planning to construct auditorium in Kharagpur, Jalpaiguriand Jabalpur.

Catering to the student community, she could alsoannounce running of student special trains keeping in mind thetravel requirement during examinations and trains with onlybookings under Tatkal scheme.

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