Mar 24, 2009
Passenger amenities, safety top priorities in Rail Budget: Mamata Banerjee - India - The Times of IndiaNEW DELHI: Amid expectations of improvement in railway amenities, railway minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday presented the 15th Railway Budget in
Presenting a promised 'pro-people' budget, the railways minister said that economic viability is not the only index of development.
She went on to add, "People expect to get better rail and train facilities. Development should not be restricted to only few people. People want better connectivity between stations in the nation. My priorities will include better passenger amenities, safety and security and provision of good quality food and drinking water".
Mamata added that an expert committee will be set up to advise her on implementation of the so-called economically unviable but socially desired projects
Mamata Banerjee said that 12 non-stop intercity air-conditioned trains will be introduced. More 'Ladies-Special' trains will be introduced in suburban trains during peak hours.
Railways will sell tickets from 5,000 post offices and tatkal booking time will be reduced from 5 to 2 days.
Banerjee announced that Izzat scheme will be launched for unorganized sector workers- Rs 25 pass up to 100km journey
Banerjee also said that multi-function complexes will be set up in 50 station premises. "Fifty stations will be developed into world class facilities," she said naming those at Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Varanasi Guwahati, Chennai, Mangalore, Porbundar and Kochi, among others.
Banerjee also said that doctors would be available on long-distance trains.
Special facilities will be provided at 375 stations and economic viability will not be the only index, said Mamata.
Rules for student concession will be relaxed, said Mamata.
Special concessions for media- concession would raised from 30% to 50%.
This is Mamata Banerjee’s first Rail Budget for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and third in her political career.
Highlights of Railway Budget for 2009-10
- No increase in passenger, freight fares
- Rs 1,102 crore allocated towards improving passenger amenities
- Kolkata metro to be extended
- Rs 50 billion increase in budgetary support in 2009-10
- Freight target for 2009-10 set at 882 million tonnes
- Target set in interim budget unrealistic
- Freight cargo increased 5% in 2008-09
- One doctor to be posted on each long distance train
- Rs.25 monthly pass for unorganised sector employees with income below Rs 1,500 for travel up to 100 km
- New "Yuva" fully air-conditioned train for youth
- Yuva fares Rs.299 up to a distance of 1,500 km and Rs 399 up to 2,500 km
- Student concession to be extended to madarssa students
- Student concession of 60 percent on Kolkata Metro
- Introduction of trains for women during peak seasons
- 12 non-stop trains
- New train information system to be started in Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi
- 50 mobile rail ticket vans to be introduced
- ATMs on 200 mid and small-sized stations
- Integrated security scheme for 140 vulnerable stations
- Setting up of a 1,000 MW power plant
- Special recruitment drive for the physically challenged, minorities
- Committee under Sam Pitroda to commercialise railways' optic fibre network
- Private operation of freight terminals to be encouraged
- New factory in West Bengal for making 500 state-of-the-art coaches annually
- "Janta khana" (peoples' food) to be provided at railway stations
- Railways will not be guided by economic viability, but by social commitment
- Seven nursing colleges to provide employment to railway spouses
- Medical colleges proposed to be opened through public-private partnership model
- Cold storages and cargo facilities to eliminate wastage of perishables
- 50 world class stations to be developed on public-private partnership model
- 309 out of 375 stations will be developed with modern facilities
- 50 stations at tourist, religious places to have integrated facilities
- Infotainment facilities on Rajdhani Express for long distance passengers
- Unreserved ticketing systems to be expanded from 5,000 to 8,000 terminals
- Passengers can buy unreserved tickets at 5,000 post offices
- Air-conditioned double-decker trains for inter-city travel
- SMS updates for wait-listed passengers
- 200 automatic vending machines at key stations for selling tickets
- Discount for press correspondents increased from 30 to 50%
- Discount of 60% on fare if press correspondents travel with spouse