Railway Minster Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday presented the Railway Budget 2010. She announced no hikes in passenger fares and freight tariff. This is the second rail budget for Mamata Banerjee as part of the UPA and her fourth overall.
She also proposed 52 new train services to meet increasing demand of passengers, increase in frequency of 12 train services, extension of 21 trains and introduction of some special trains. And there would be a cut in service charges on sleeper class and AC class fares, which has been cut to Rs 10 and Rs 20 respectively.
Reiterating the Government’s commitment to provide efficient railway network within the reach of common man, Kumari Mamata Banerjee said that the target has been set to add 25,000 km of new lines in next 10 years. A Special Task Force to clear proposals for investments within 100 days will be set up, policy guidelines will be made easy, simple and investment friendly so that business community can join hands to build partnership with the Railways. But the Minister clarified that this does not mean that Railway is going for privatization, it will remain a Government organization, she asserted
Mamata Banerjee has proposed Rs.41,426 crore, the highest ever plan investment to provide efficient, customer focused and modern railway network. Out of this allocation, Rs.4,411 crore have been proposed to achieve the target of 1,000 kms. for new lines and Rs.1,302 crore for passenger amenities. The Plan would be financed through gross budgetary support of Rs.15,875 crore, Diesel Cess of Rs.877 crore, internal resources of Rs,14,523 crore and EBR of Rs.10,151 crore including market borrowing through IRFC of Rs.9,120 crore.
Mamata Banerjee proposed special trains – Sanskriti Express, across the country, to mark 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, Matribhoomi Express trains for ladies in Kolkata, Chennai, New Delhi and Mumbai and Karmabhoomi trains, unreserved trains for common people between Darbhanga-Mumbai, Guwahati-Mumbai and New Jalpaiguri-Amritsar. Similarly, Janmabhoomi Trains specially for uniformed persons, between Ahmedabad and Udhampur, Bharat Tirth Trains for tourists connecting popular sites in different parts of the country will be introduced during the year.
The Railway Minister also proposed four new Durontos trains between Chandigarh and Amritsar, between Chennai and Coimbatore, between Puri and Howrah and between Howrah and Digha.
Among some populist measures, the minster announced that exam fee for minority classes, women and backward class. And Railways will provide houses to all its employees in the next 10 years in collaboration with the Urban Development Ministry.
As expected there was a lot of goodies for West Bengal: Chittaranjan Locomotive Works capacity would to be augmented from 200 to 275 engines a year; Centre for Railway Research to be set up at IIT-Kharagpur; Railways to set up Rabindra Museum in Howrah and Geetanjali Museum in Bolpur — both in West Bengal — to commemorate Rabindranath Tagore’s 125th birth anniversary, and a new axle factory in New Jalpaiguri.
She also said that if land is available, Railways is willing to set up a Diesel Multiple Unit factory in West Bengal.
To boost the freight sector, she proposed to introduce a modified wagon investment scheme and acquire 80,000 new wagons. Railways would also set up a new refrigerated container unit and a manufacturing unit for AC wagons.
She announced that Railways would set up 10 auto ancillary hubs in PPP mode. The Railways will sign a pact for western corridor next month with a Japanese company and also set up more freight corridors, she said. The minister proposed that private operators can run special freight trains. She said that 80,000 new wagons would be acquired by the Railways.
For FY11, she estimated Railways’ dividend payout to exchequer at Rs 6,608 crore and freight loading target at 944 million tonnes. For FY11, gross traffic receipts were projected at Rs 94,800 crore.
Not to increase freight tariff
Private operators can run special freight trains
Freight on foodgrains, kerosene cut by Rs.100/wagon
To extend routes of 21 trains
To introduce 54 new trains in FY11
To start rail link to Bangladesh
Allocation at Rs 4848 cr for new lines
Funding for all metro projects raised by 55%
IRFC to borrow Rs 9120 crore in FY11
To set up new axel factory in new Jalpaiguri
To set up 5 new wagon factories
Service charge on sleeper class cut to Rs.10
Service charge on ac class cut to Rs.20 vs Rs.40 earlier
To run 101 new suburban trains in Mumbai
To introduce ‘house for all’ scheme for rail employees
To set up multi functional hospitals
Railways to set up e-ticket centers at the Panchayat level
To allocate Rs 1300 crore for passenger amenities
To exempt exam fee for minority classes, women and backward class
To complete 1000 route kilometers of new lines in next 1 year
Railways to build 25000 route kilometers by 2020
117 new trains to be flagged off by March 31
To create separate structure within railways for new business model
To invite domestic investments via PPP mode
Anti-collision devices to be extended to 3 zonal railways
Out of 17000 unmanned crossings a total of 4000 to be manned
No plans to privatise Indian railways
Considered economic viability while formulating budget: Mamata
Larger section of population to get connectivity over next 5 years
Policy guidelines to be simplified
Propose a special task force to clear proposals for investments
Need innovative financing for rail infra projects (NDTV)