UNION RAILWAYS Minister Mamata Banerjee has made a number of proposals in her third railway budget, which is being presented today in the Lok Sabha. Calling the railway budget 2011 the common man’s budget, Mamata began her speech on a melodramatic note and defended the railways’ stand on following strict business-driven policies, and offering easy access to coal and iron ore freight facility – apart from offering quality food in trains in the form of Jana Ahaar.
Adding that the railways is keen on following a two-pronged strategy, she addressed the need for establishing locomotive units in north east India including Nandigram, Manipur and New Bongaigaon in Assam. This will meet the demand for the supply of railway coaches. She also said that 85 proposals through public-private partnership are under consideration.
For the betterment of functioning of the Indian railways, last year the railways was given $9 billion, which is most likely to be utilised this year. The railways had a deficit of Rs, 2,500 crore last year.
The total earnings of the Indian railways between April 2010 and January 2011 shot up to Rs 76,187.27 crore, whereas freight earning was calculated at Rs. 50,899.2 crore. Freight earnings constitute of two-thirds of the total earnings of Indian Railways.
Some of the proposals made by Mamata Banerjee includes:
> Railway capacity to be increased by 700 kilometres
> Schemes to set up shelters for homeless people living on railway tracks, particularly in Mumbai
> Gas-based power plant in Maharashtra
> Annual plan for financial year is Rs 57,630 crores
> First coach from Rai Baraelly factory to roll out in three months
> Metro coach units to be set up in Nandigram