House passes Rail Demands for Excess Grants, Supplementary Demands
New Delhi, Dec 5 (UNI) The Lok Sabha today passed the Demands for Excess Grants for Railways for 2004-05 and Supplementary Demands for Grants for 2006-07, with Railway Minister Lalu Prasad giving an assurance that the freight on salt would not be hiked and his organisation would make an all-out efforts to improve the profitablity of the farming community.
Replying to a debate in the House on the subject, Mr Prasad said the Railways would end up with even a higher profit than the last fiscal, which has been described as a 'miracle' and baffled experts from even Harvard and other renowned Universities around the world.
In his characterstic style, the Minister bemoned that farmers were getting a raw deal for several reason, an important one being the rising cost of inputs. This included the high frieght cost on the transportation of fruits and vegetables.
Mr Prasad said the Railways would not be found wanting in their contribution to improve the lot of the farmers, who form the backbone of the country.
The Minister said salt was one of those items which is consumed by the masses and was linked to the memory of Mahtama Gandhi and categorically stated that freight on this item would not be increased. Several members during the course of the debate had expressed fears that freeight increase on salt was on the anvil.
Mr Prasad said that India is an agricultural exporting country and poised to achieve greater heights in this regard, adding that Railways would support efforts in this reegard.
The Minister said the demand made by the Members, including Deputy Speaker Chranjit Singh Atwal, for linking up Railway stations, like Amritsar, to Patna Sahib would be respected. This would facilitate the passage of pilgrims to Patna Sahib, linked to the memory of the tenth Sikh Guru.
Mr Prasad said a biggger miracle, relating to the profitablity of the Railways, was in the offing and one which would surprise even bigger experts.
The Minister said he would do his utmost to ensure that the demand by MPs for permitting co-travellers free of cost on Indian Railways with a member would bear fruit after the Parliamentary priveleges Committee submits its Report.
The excess demand for grants are for Rs 21,050 crore and supplmentary demand for 2006-07 are for Rs 568 crores. The relevant Appropriation Bill was also passed after clause by clause consideration.
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