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Mamata's rail: What's in it for you

Last updated on: July 3, 2009 

Mamata's rail: What's in it for you

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In a thanksgiving budget, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday proposed no increase in passenger fares or freight tariff while announcing a slew of measures including launch of 12 non-stop point-to-point long-distance trains and air-conditioned double-decker coaches for inter-city travel.

Presenting the Budget for 2009-10 in the Lok Sabha, the first after the United Progressive Alliance's return to power, she also announced concessions for unorganised sector by proposing monthly season ticket of Rs 25 for people with monthly income of up to Rs 1,500 for travel up to 100 km.

Her proposals included introduction of 57 new train services, extension of 27 new trains and increase in frequency of 13 trains and making 'Tatkal' scheme more user-friendly by reducing the advance booking period from five days to two days and minimum charge from Rs 150 to Rs 100.


Image: Union Minister for Railways, Mamata Banerjee arrives at Parliament House along with her deputies E Ahamed and K H Muniyappa to present the Rail Budget 2009-10, in New Delhi on July 03, 2009.
Photographs: Courtesy, PIB
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The Budget has proposals for 7 new lines, gauge conversion of 17 lines and doubling of 13 railway lines. In addition, it proposed for 53 new lines, 3 gauge conversion and doubling of 12 lines.

  • The Railway Ministry has plans to develop important stations through private-public partnership.

These include CST Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Howrah, Sealdah, Varanasi, New Delhi, Lucknow, Jaipur, Kanpur, Chennai Central, Thiruvananthapuram Central, Secunderabad, Bangalore City, Byappanahalli, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Habibganj, Agra Central, Chandigarh, Kolkata, New Jalpaiguri, Puri and Kochi.

  • Ladies' specials to be introduced in suburban trains during peak hours.
  • Twelve non-stop point-to-point trains between select cities to be introduced. The sections include -- Howrah-Mumbai, Delhi-Lucknow, Delhi-Chennai, Delhi-Pune, Delhi-Allahabad, Howrah-Delhi, Sealdah-Delhi and Ernakulum-Delhi.

Image: The Rail Budget 2009-10 documents arrives in Parliament.
Photographs: Courtesy, PIB
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Mamata announced a new scheme 'Izzat' for travel with dignity.

Under this scheme the people in unorganized sector with monthly income upto Rs 1,500 can avail concessional monthly season ticket of Rs 25 for travel upto 100 km.

  • Railways to develop multi-functional complexes with shopping malls, food stalls, medicines and variety stores in different parts of the country.
  • Infotainment services to be provided in major long-distance trains.
  • One doctor to be posted on long distance trains.

Image: Commuters travel in a suburban train in Mumbai.
Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters
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To provide relief to women passengers the minister proposed 'only ladies' EMU suburban trains in Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata during rush hours.

She also announced new 'Yuva trains' dedicated to young generation from rural hinterland to major metros  with  concessional rail fare but with air-conditioned facilities.

  • Seven nursing colleges to be set up on railway land in places including Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai.
  • Railway medical colleges to be developed along with rail hospitals on public-private partnership.

Image: Sniffer dog from Indian Railway police checks passengers' bags inside compartment of Kolkata Metro.
Photographs: Jayanta Shaw/Reuters
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The Railway Minister announced 12 new point to point, non-stop 'Duronto' trains, 57 new train services, extension of 27 trains and increase in frequency of 13 trains.

The minister also proposed introduction of Air-conditioned double decker coaches for inter-city travel.

  • SMS updates on wait-listed tickets to be introduced.
  • Superfast parcel express trains to be started on a pilot basis between Delhi and Chennai and Delhi and Mumbai.

Image: Passengers boarding an AC train.

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The Minister announced  extensive availability of 'Janata Khana', in which national and regional cuisines will be ensured.

To improve the cleanliness, the onboard  house keeping scheme will cover 200 additional pairs of trains.

  • Photo-ID cards cum credit cards to be given to accredited journalists. Travel concession has been increased from 30 to 50 per cent for them.

 


Image: Guests have their dinner at the 'Swarna Mahal' dining coach of the luxury train 'Royal Rajasthan'
Photographs: Vijay Mathur/Reuters
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She also proposed 1000 new passenger reservation locations and expansion of Unreserved Ticketing System terminal from 5000 to 8000.

  • Auto-vending machines to be installed in large and medium stations.
  • Unreserved ticketing terminals to be expanded from 5000 to 8000. Automatic ticket vending machines to be increased.
  • Arrangement with Department of Posts for issuance of tickets.

 

 

 


Image: A ticket counter in a Railway station.

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She further announced that:

  • An Integrated Security System is being developed for 130 vulnerable stations to provide security to passengers.
  • Special recruitment drive to be launched to fill vacancies in physically-handicapped category.

Image: rest at a railway station on the outskirts of Siliguri, west Bengal.
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters
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On freight Mamata announced:

  • Freight loading target for 2009-10 set at 882 million tonnes, an increase of 39 million tones.
  • 18,000 wagons to be acquired during the current year.
  • Railways making efforts with Department of Heavy Industries for takeover of ailing wagon manufacturing units
    like Burn Standards.
  • New policy to be launched for construction and operation of private freight terminals.

Image: Freight being transported.

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Presenting the Railway Budget she proposed an outlay of Rs 40,745 cr (Rs 407.45 billion) for 2009-10. Out of this, Rs 2,921 cr (Rs 29.21 billion) will be spent on new lines, Rs 1,750 cr (Rs 17.50 billion) on gauge conversion and Rs 1,102 cr (Rs11.02 billion) on passenger amenities, which is 119 per cent more than the allocation in the Interim Budget.

  • Railways to develop cold storages for farmers to store vegetables and fruits.
  • Railways to set up Land Banks to be used for industry.
  • A new coach factory with state-of-the-art facilities, exclusively for manufacturing 500 coaches per annum to be set up at Kanchrapara in West Bengal.
  • Work on coach factory in Rae Bareli to be speeded up.
  • Railways to set up a 1000 MW power plant.
  • Special fund for the development of north east railway.
  • Quazigund-Anantnag line to be completed by next month.
  • 6560 railway staff quarters to be constructed and group 'D' employees to get scholarships for their girl child.
  • Railways to come out with while paper on financial status and vision-2020 document.

Image: The Himalayan Queen.

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