Saturday, February 26, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


R A I L W A Y    B U D G E T

Thrust on new lines in frontier areas

Coal movement earns half of revenue

Austerity drive saves 850 cr

New trains for West Bengal

Gesture to girl students

Market borrowings pegged at 3,668 cr

Rail links with Nepal, B’ desh soon

Bookings on Net through Smart card

Jobs for kin of Kargil martyrs


Thrust on new lines in frontier areas

NEW DELHI, Feb 25 (UNI) — The Railway Budget (2000-2001) has given a thrust to completion of new lines, particularly in the frontier areas of Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast, raising the investment from Rs 514 crore provided in the revised estimates last year to Rs 825 crore.

The ongoing new line sections to be completed before March 2000 are Bongaon-Petrapole, Goalpara-Kamakhaya and Peddpalli-Karimnagar.

New lines targetted to be completed in 2000-2001 are Kapadvanj-Modasa, Kashinagar-Kakdweep, Eklakhi-Gajol, Puttaparthi-Penukonda, Bargachia-Munshirhat, Tamluk-Digha and Joruri-Banspani.

Seven new line projects will be taken up next year which are Kotipallli-Narsapur, Jogighpopa-Maynaguri, Ramganj Mandi-Bhopal, Tarakeshwar-Bishnupur via Arambag, Sultangang-Deogarh, Ajmer-Pushkar and Gandhinagar-Adraj Moti-Kalol.

As many as 25 new railway line surveys are proposed to be conducted.

Presenting the Railway Budget proposals for the financial year 2000-01 in the Lok Sabha, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said the survey for a line between Port Blair and Diglipur would also be updated.Back


Coal movement earns half of revenue

NEW DELHI, Feb 25 (PTI) — The movement of coal through the rail is expected to account for nearly half the freight earnings of the Railways at Rs 10,627.70 crore during 2000-01.

A total of 221.50 million tonnes of coal for various steel plants, washeries, thermal power plants and other public users are expected to be moved through rails accounting for 45 per cent of the total Rs 23,608 crore freight earnings, according to the Railway Budget for 2000-01 presented by Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee today.

Freight earnings of the Railways during 2000-01 have been projected to go up by 6.87 per cent to Rs 23,608 crore from Rs 22,091 crore in the previous year. The tonnage of heavy goods moved through railways is projected to increase only marginally to 475 million tonnes from 450 million tonnes last year.

The marginal increase in freight earnings is despite the status quo in freight charges of essential commodities and only a marginal increase of 5 per cent for other goods.

The second major component of freights moved through the Railways, raw materials for steel plants, would contribute Rs 1081.70 crore, up from Rs 996.23 crore in 1999-2000.

While movement of pig iron and finished steel for steel plants is projected to contribute Rs 1419.88 crore against Rs 1,312.51 crore in 1999-2000, iron ore exports would account for Rs 511.45 crore, up from Rs 462.57 crore.

Earnings from movement of cement is expected to rise by 8.16 per cent to Rs 2007.06 from Rs 1,855.50 crore in the previous financial year.

Though no increase has been proposed in the freight charges on essential commodities, foodgrain movements would contribute to a higher earning of Rs 1,619.79 crore to the Railways, up from Rs 1,590.45 crore last year.

Freight earnings from the movement of petro products is projected to rise to Rs 2,761.14 crore as against Rs 2,495.87 crore in 1999-2000.Back


Austerity drive saves 850 cr

NEW DELHI, Feb 25 (UNI) — An estimated Rs 850 crore saved through austerity measures have helped the railways absorb additional requirement within the existing grant of a "small increase of Rs 50 crore."

Disclosing this in her Budget speech, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee quoting Tagore said in the Lok Sabha today, "I start on my journey, with empty hands and an expectant heart."

After assuming office,she therefore decided to take stringent measures to reduce expenditure on consumption of fuel, procurement of material, hospitality, publicity, advertisements, inaugural ceremonies, seminars and travel and office expenses. These measures helped the railways saved about Rs 850 crore, she said.

Accordingly, the ordinary working expenses projected at Rs 25,740 crore in the Budget estimates for 1999-2000 are now placed at Rs 25,790 crore.Back


New trains for West Bengal

NEW DELHI, Feb 25 (PTI) — Seeking to fulfil the promises made to her home state, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee today announced a series of rail services for West Bengal, including a new biweekly Sealdah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express.

Presenting her maiden Railway Budget in the Lok Sabha, Ms Banerjee also urged the ruling Left Front in the state to share the costs of the expansion of the Calcutta Metro Railway from Tollgunge to Garia and decided to connect the Circular Railway to the Calcutta airport.

Besides the new Rajdhani Express, she announced the introduction of four trains connecting places in West Bengal — the Howrah-Purulia Express (daily), Sealdah-New Jalpaiguri Express (tri-weekly), Shalimar-Bankura Express and the Sealdah-Amritsar Superfast Express (weekly).

The Howrah-Digha Express is to be introduced upon the completion of the new line construction between Digha and Tamluk, to commemorate 50 years of the Republic, she said.

Ms Banerjee also announced increasing the frequency of the Pune-Howrah Azad Hind Express from two to three days, extension of the Howrah-Trichy Express to Kanniyakumari, Amritsar-Barauni Express upto Katihar and the Sealdah-Katihar Express upto Barauni.

Proposing to upgrade services and facilities in the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, she said two colourful diesel locomotives would be given to the Darjeeling Hill Railway. Back


Gesture to girl students

NEW DELHI, Feb 25 (UNI) — The first woman Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee made a special gesture to her clan in the millennium year offering free travel to girl students up to Class XII from home to school and back.

The facility was available to the students (both boys and girls) upto Class X.

The modified scheme was proposed by the Railway Minister while presenting the 2000-2001 Budget this afternoon in the Lok Sabha.

Similarly, she announced a 75 per cent concession to the Kargil war widows on second class and sleeper class fares.Back


Market borrowings pegged at 3,668 cr

NEW DELHI, Feb 25 (PTI) — Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee today said the Railways would resort to commercial utilisation of its assets and market borrowings to the tune of Rs 3,668 crore to bridge the resource gap during 2000-2001.

"Efforts will be made to increase our internal resource generation through commercial utilisation of huge railway assets, including several acres of land", she told reporters soon after presenting her maiden Budget in the Lok Sabha.Back


Rail links with Nepal, B’ desh soon

NEW DELHI, Feb 25 (UNI) — The Railways is playing a pivotal role in the development of trans-Asian railway which would span China, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Iran and Turkey onwards to Europe. Ms Mamata Banerjee announced in her Budget speech in the Lok Sabha today.

She said rail links with Bangladesh and Nepal are going to be restored for goods traffic in the coming year and the ministry is making efforts to begin passenger services soon.

The minister said the Railways is negotiating with the Asian Development Bank for a loan totalling about Rs 3800 crore for rail sector’s improvement project covering aspects of augmentation of capacity and safety.Back


Bookings on Net through Smart card

NEW DELHI, Feb 25 (UNI) — Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee today proposed a major initiative to deploy information technology for improvements in customer services.

Under the proposals, the Railways will commence bookings on Internet through Smart card and Internet-based reservation using credit cards will be made available, after the passage of cyber laws by Parliament.

The Railway Budget also proposes to extend the booking facilities for reserved accommodation using PRS terminals or Internet to rail travel agents.

The other areas to be covered are:

— national train enquiry system for disseminating real-time information regarding passenger train running to be implemented soon.

— after its success in Delhi, the Railways also proposes to introduce tele-booking system at Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad.Back


Jobs for kin of Kargil martyrs

NEW DELHI, Feb 25 (PTI) — The Railways has decided to earmark 100 employment opportunities for the families of Kargil martyrs.

Presenting the Railway Budget proposals for 2000-01 in the Lok Sabha today, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said the modalities for selection of the families eligible for such employment would be worked out and recommended by the Defence Ministry.

She said the families of railway employees had contributed Rs 21.78 crore to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for Kargil victims.Back

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