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Highlights of Railway Budget 2012-13
A marginal increase in the passenger fares as expected from the rail minister, the safety and..

UNION RAILWAY minister Dinesh Trivedi reached the Parliament on Wednesday with a clear mind and vision when he rose in the house to present his maiden Rail Budget for the financial year 2012-13. The budget session, which witnessed some noisy scenes early in the morning, forced the speaker, Meira Kumar, to adjourn the house till 12 noon and when the House reassembled, it was the turn of Rail minister Dinesh Trivedi to present the budget before the house.

In his nearly two-hour long budget speech, Trivedi highlighted the achievements and important milestones that his railway family achieved in the previous year. He told the railways would be focusing on connecting the remote areas of the nation with main stream and thus his emphasis would be on the north-east Indian states where he has suggested constructing a rail link from Agartala to Bangladesh. This will reduce the travel time and cost of operation for the people who can come to India via Bangladesh.  

He also informed the House that the railways have successfully completed the 11-km long tunnel in the Pir-Panjal range in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and told that the electrification work would be completed soon on the Jammu-Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla section in order to give Kashmir a pollution free train service.

Under the Indian Railways ambitious ‘Uni-gauge’ project, which began in 1992, the railways would convert the remaining 7000 kms of meter gauge to broad gauge leaving the Heritage narrow track, in next five to seven years.

Dinesh Trivedi said his top priority would be to focus on the bridges, tracks, congestion on tracks and laying down of new tracks for which geo-physical surveys will be carried out in a phased manner. Among the main highlights of the rail budget were:   

Increase in the passenger fares by 2 paise per km for sub-urban and ordinary second class; 3 paise per km for the mail/express second class; 5 paise per km for the sleeper class; 10 paise per km for the AC Chair Car, AC 3 tier and First Class; 15 paise per km for AC 2 tier and 30 paise per km for the AC I class.

The platform tickets will cost Rs.5 now as he has rounded off the amounts to avoid the problem of change on counters which often led to brawls sometimes between the passengers and railway staff.

Dinesh Trivedi has also introduced to give 50 per cent concession in fares in the AC-2, AC-3, Chair Car and in the Sleeper classes to patients suffering from Aplastic Anaemia and 'Sickle Cell Anaemia'.

Good news for Arjuna awardees. The minister has extended the facility of travel by Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains to all Arjuna Awardees. Besides the minister increased the minimum distance from 100 kms to 150 kms under the Izzat pass schemes which was started by former Rail minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee to facilitate the poor people of India, as the party’s motto is to serve “Ma, Maati and Maanush.”

An SMS on the mobile phone of bona fide passenger in case of an e-ticket is to be accepted as a proof of valid reservation while travelling. Satellite based real time train information system (SIMRAN) to provide the current and exact train running information to passengers through SMS, internet, etc.

On board passenger displays indicating next halt station and expected arrival time to be introduced. Installation of some 321 escalators at important junctions of which 50 will be commissioned in 2012-13. Introduction of regional cuisines at an affordable rates hope to touch the chord with the passengers. Launching ‘Book-a-meal’scheme, to provide multiple-choice of meals through SMS or email was the other attraction of the budget. Introduction of coin currency operated ticket vending machines at all important stations.

Up-gradation of 929 stations as ‘Adarsh stations’ including 84 stations proposed in 2012-13,490 stations have been completed so far. Specially designed coaches for physically challenged persons to be provided in each Mail and Express trains. Introduction of Rail Bandhu on-board magazines on Rajdhanis, Shatabdis and Duronto trains. Setting up of AC Executive lounges at important stations

The minister has announced to introduce some 75 new Express trains in the budget besides 21 new passenger services, 9 DEMU services and 8 MEMU services to be introduced. Run of 39 trains to be extended. Frequency of 23 trains is to be increased.

75 additional services to run in Mumbai suburban; 44 new suburban services to be introduced in Kolkata area, 50 new services to be introduced in Kolkata Metro; 18 additional services in Chennai area.

725 km new lines, 700 km doubling, 800 km gauge conversion and 1,100 km electrification targeted in 2012-13.

Rs 6,872 cr provided for new lines, Rs 3,393 cr for doubling, Rs 1,950 cr for gauge conversation, Rs 828 cr for electrification

Highest ever plan outlay of Rs. 60,100 cr. Rae Bareli coach factory manufactured 10 coaches in 2011-12; phase-II of the factory would be commissioned in 2012-13. A wagon factory to be set up at Sitapali (Ganjam District of Odisha) were some other highlights of the budget.

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