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Lalu to kickstart GMs meeting

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, May 4 (UNI) A two-day brainstorming session of the General Managers of Indian Railways gets underway here tomorrow which will take stock of the proposals announced in this year's Railway Budget, including introduction of new trains, setting up of budget hotels and model stations, as also the loss-making catering services.

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad will kickstart the annual meeting, which is to be attended by all the 17 General Managers and Railway Board chairman J P Batra.

Credited with turning the loss-making transport behemoth into a cash-efficient, passenger-friendly entity, Mr Prasad is expected to impress upon his GMs to chalk out plans for timely completion of the projects and cushion stiff competitions from low budget airlines and freight transport companies.

''It is going to be a brainstorming session for the top Railway mandarins where the entire gamut of existing schemes as well as the proposals in the Railway Budget, 2006-07, will be thorougly debated as a prelude to hammering out measures for their implementation,'' ministry sources told UNI.

Also on the agenda are the measures that will bolster the revenues of the Railways, the biggest public sector enterprise in the country.

Faced with a tough competition from the surface transport in freight sector and from low budget airlines in the upscale passenger segment, the Railways has announced a number of measures to retrieve the lost ground.

Earlier, the Railway Board had held a high-level meeting with the Divisional Railway Managers on modernisation and refurbishing of railway stations and platforms across the country and upgrading the amenities for travelling passengers.

The ministry has already declared the current year as ''The Year of Passenger Service with a Smile''.

In his budget proposals, the Railway Minister had announced introduction of new trains, improving speed of important trains, setting up dedicated freight corridors, budget hotels and transforming 400 stations into ''Model stations''.

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