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"People-friendly" budget hailed but safety concerns remain

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Feb 24 (UNI) The common man today welcomed the budget unveiled by Railway Minister Lalu Prasad for its numerous "customer-friendly" features, including a considerable reduction in first and second class in AC fares, introduction of weekly "Garib Raths" and reduction e-booking charges but many expressed concern over the inadequacy of measures to ensure railway safety.

Features like the opening of 800 more UTS centres, proposed beautification and modernisation of railway stations have found favour among several cross-sections of people, from the daily wagers to small traders to big businessmen and executives.

Ramesh Sharma, a wholesale trader who has to make frequent trips between Delhi and Amritsar felt that opening up of 800 more UTS centres and reduction in e-booking charges were steps which would considerable benefit frequent travellers like him.

''Measures like opening up of 800 more UTS centres and reduction in e-booking charges would go a long way in reducing the queues at ticket booking counters. Earlier, the long queues at ticket counters made travelling by trains a torturous affair. Hopefully this will now change,''Sharma said.

At the same time, many, specially big businessmen and top company executives, feel that with an almost 18 per cent reduction in first class Ac fares and 10 per cent in IInd AC fares, coupled with an increasing number of steps for beautification and modernisation of railway stations, including proposals to set up ATM machines, cyber cafes etc at these places like airports, would help draw the air travellers towards going for a rail journey.

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