3 July : Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee has 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 UPA’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 kms.
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.The sops also covered students of Madrassas to whom concessions will be extended. Concessional monthly season tickets to students in Kolkata will be applicable for travel in the Kolkata Metro Rail also.
The Budget estimates for 2009-10 projects a freight loading target of 882 million tonnes, an increase of 49 million tonnes and a six per cent increase in the number of passengers.
Gross traffic receipts have been estimated at Rs 88,419 crore, which is Rs 8,557 crore more than 2008-09.
Highlights of Railway Budget 2009-10
* Passenger and freight rates across board left unchanged
* Net revenue of Railways at Rs 8,121 crore in 2008-09
* To pay higher dividend Rs 5,479 crore to Centre in FY’10
* Tatkal charges reduced from rs 150 to Rs 100
* Ladies’ specials in suburban trains during peak hours
* ‘Izzat’ monthly ticket of Rs 25 for up to 100 km travel
* New coach factory at Kanchrapara in West Bengal
* Cold storages for farmers to store vegetables and fruits
* Talks to take over ailing wagon manufacturing units
* 18,000 wagons to be acquired during current year
* Railway medical colleges along with rail hospitals on PPP
* Student concession will cover Madrasa students
* Spl. coaches for disabled and aged persons
* 50 stations to be developed on world-class standard
* 375 stations to be upgraded as ‘Adarsh’ stations with basic facilities – drinking water, toilets and ladies’ dormitories
* On-board availability of doctors in long distance trains
* On-board infotainment services to be provided
* 6,560 staff quarters to be constructed in 2009-10
* High-capacity A/C double-decker trains to be introduced
* 57 new trains to be introduced
* 12 non-stop trains to be introduced
* Accredited journalists to get 50% rebate; also once a year with spouse
* Proposes 1,000 MW power plant at Adra, a tribal area
* Cash surplus of Rs 17,400 crore before dividend
* Railways has investible surplus of Rs 12,681 crore
* Annual plan expenditure pegged at Rs 36,336 crore