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TN chambers hail rail budget

By Staff
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Chennai, Feb 24 (UNI) Several Chambers of Commerce in the city today welcomed the Union railway budget presented by Railway Minister Lalu Prasad.

Commending the Minister for not increasing the passenger fares and freight rates for the third successive term, Hindustan Chamber of Commerce President Ashok R Thakkar said in a release here that the surplus budget was ''a rare phenomenon.'' However, reclassification of different freight rates from 80 to 28 should not result in escalation of prices. The positive aspects of the budget included the reduction in first and second class AC fares and introduction of 'Garib Rath' train on pilot basis.

Mr Thakkar said the railway budget was on the ''expected lines '' and the introduction of 30 per cent discount during non-peak period and 20 per cent discount during peak period on incremental freight might also help the business community.

All India Tax Payers Association President Ashok Kumbhat lauded the focus and thrust on 'passenger services,' but was apprehensive as such promises in the past meant no significant improvement in areas like cleanliness of trains or platforms.

Taking exception to Tamil Nadu not finding a place in the projects of new lines, he said there was also no specific mention about allotment of sufficient funds for early completion of MRTS project.

Andhra Chamber of Commerce President Sailesh R Mehta said the budget announcements were praise-worthy but wished that the Minister spelt out dynamic measures for aspects like economy in expenditure and augmentation of internal resources.

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