I was listening to the complete coverage on the Rail Budget today and believe me, it was a treat for the ear. I am amazed at the way Mr.Lalu Prasad Yadav changed the way Railways was looked upon. I loved it when he said that Railways Posted a 20,000 crore profit against the 14,700 crores of the last year. Moreover, It was great to know that with all the benefits that he had to offer; he abstained from increasing passenger tariffs. Now thats what i call a turnaround.
Some of the Key points that impressed me were
- Fund balance at Rs 16,000 crore.
- 20- 30 per cent increase in passenger traffic.
- Railways record Rs 20,000 crore profit in 2006-07.
- Cement steel traffic up by 20 to 30 per cent.
- Railways successful on the container train experiment.
- AC first class fare will be reduced.
- Reduction in fares by Re 1 per passenger in non-suburban tickets.
- Superfast surcharge levied on second class tickets reduced by 20 per cent.
- Fifty per cent fare concession for UPSC and other official examinees.
- Tickets to be sold at petrol pumps and ATM centres.
- Senior citizen and ladies above 45 years of age will have greater quota in AC and second class sleeper coaches.
- For handicapped persons, specially designed coaches will be used. 1,250 bogies created for this so far. All mail expresses will have such designed coaches by next year.
- Separate coach for vendors, milkmen and petty traders in passenger trains.
- Passengers can also get alerts through SMS on their Reservation Status.
- Each zone will have a SP grade officer to look into consumer complaints.
- All customer complaints to be disposed in three months.
- 500 kms of new rail lane envisaged.
- 23 train routes to be extended.
- 800 new wagons to be introduced; 20,000 km of high-density network to be laid; new trains for cement transportation.
- Lalu against privatisation in Railways. Wants private partnership on his terms.
- CCTVs to be installed in sensitive stations.
- All TTEs to be provided palm tops.
- Rail electrification to be done across the country right from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.
- Rail locomotive production to be increased.
- 32 new trains and 8 new Grib Raths this year.
- Suburban train services in Mumbai to be increased.
- Mumbai Urban Transport Project to be speeded up to help suburban commuters. Rs 5,000 crore to be allocated during the next Five-Year Plan for this.
- Feasibility study to be conducted for ultra-high speed trains with speed up to 250-300 km per hour.
- Number of berths to be increased from 72 to 84 in sleeper coaches.
- Work on dedicated freight corridor to begin in 2007-08. The corridor will be completed after investing Rs 30,000 crore.
- 2007-08 will be observed as Railways cleanliness year.
- 300 more stations to be turned into model stations.
- 6,000 automatic ticket vending machines to be installed in major cities.
- Railways to set up call centres. Customers can dial 139 at local rates anywhere in India and get routed to Railway call centres.
- Unreserved compartments will increase from four to six compartments in every train this year.
- Production of wooden seats will be stopped.
- Uncushioned seats to be replaced by 2007-2008 in unreserved second class compartments.
- Efforts to increase container traffic five – fold to 100 million tonnes by 2011-12.
- Will invest massively in container operations over the next 5 years.
- Plan to start three-storey container trains.
- Freight: Incremental loading of 60 million tonnes this year.
- Chair to be set up at IIM-A to study the management of Railways.
- Increased Security features on the Rail lines.
- Spend on upskilling the existing Railway Police force.
- Spend on upgrading the existing Rail infrastructure.
- concentrate on more enviornment friendly projects like battery operated locomotives.
- complete the Mangalore Bangalore Rail Link.
- Improve the railway catering services.