Trivedi to present maiden Rail Budget tomorrow
“Rail Budget is going to be like whatever it should be,” Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi said in New Delhi on Tuesday while giving finishing touches to the documents of budget 2012-13.
Trivedi will present his maiden Rail Budget in the Lok Sabha after the question hour on Wednesday.
Asked about the possibility of fare hike, which has not been touched since 2003, he declined to comment saying, “Tomorrow is the budget, no preview.”
There are speculations about the possibility of safety cess being imposed on train fares to mop up Rs 5,000 crore as recommended by Kakodkar Committee.
Parliamentary committees, Planning Commission and railway unions have suggested fare hike in all classes to raise funds for the national transporter.
Given the financial condition of railways, Trivedi has to make a tight ropewalk catering to the need of massive upgradation of rail infrastructure and also improving passenger amenities.
Despite constraints, Trivedi could announce some new trains including a few for North-east region.
Rail Budget likely to focus on signalling system upgrading
Railway Min Dinesh Trivedi is likely to spell out a blue print for upgrading signalling and telecommunication system to prevent accidents in the upcoming Rail Budget despite financial constraints.
Besides, the Rail Budget will have proposals for state-of-the-art coach manufacturing units in Karnataka and Gujarat.
Railways which has sought Rs 50,000 crore from Finance Ministry as gross budgetary support (GBS), has got only Rs 25,000 crore for the next fiscal from the central kitty.
The multi-crore action plan for upgradation of the system is slated to cover the 19,000 km long major trunk route such as New Delhi-Mumbai and New Delhi-Kolkata and New Delhi Delhi-Chennai corridors.
“The upgradation exercise is a long-term plan to be carried out in a phased manner,” said a source in the railways on Monday.
In-cab signalling system, similar to the technology followed in European countries and already available with Delhi Metro, would be aggressively taken up by the railways, a mention of which is expected in Trivedi’s budget speech on 14th March.
Keen on introducing high speed trains, Trivedi is also likely to announce a new bullet train corridor for Rajasthan.
The 591-km Delhi-Jaipur-Ajmer-Jodhpur route is slated to be taken up for pre-feasibility study for introducing bullet trains, which run at a speed of 350 km per hour, and an announcement to this effect is likely to be made on 14th March.
Trivedi could also announce a proposal for induction of trains sets, which run at 200 km per hour, on the Delhi-Mumbai route.
A train set consists of a high horse power electronic locomotive with about 10 modern coaches and is estimated to cost Rs 200 crore.
Green initiatives are also likely to get a big boost this time as a proposal for manufacturing as many as 2,500 environmental-friendly toilets could be included in the budget.
The Rail Budget 2012-13 is also slated to have measures for improving passenger amenities at stations and trains.
Railway Minister could announce plan for manufacturing 25,00 green toilets in the next fiscal as green initiative.
Railways freight traffic up by over 5 percent
Indian Railways have carried 875.60 million tonnes (MT) of freight traffic during April 2011-February 2012 as against the freight of 832.66 MT carried during the corresponding period last year, registering an increase of 5.16 percent.
In February, railways carried 83.76 MT of traffic, an increase of 6.96 million tonnes over the freight of 76.80 MT carried during February 2011, showing an increase of 9.06 percent. (DD-13.3)
Source: DDI News