New Delhi: Nominal passenger fare revision, incentives on freight transport, enhanced funding for security and seasonal passes for vendors at Rs20 are likely to be the highlights of the railway budget to be presented on 3 July.
Besides, economic meals at stations and more janata trains are expected to find mention in the budget as also expediting work on railway coach factory in Rae Bareli and putting the dedicated freight corridor (DFC) on fast track.
While the ongoing work for world class stations would be given a further push, Sealdah in West Bengal is likely to be added in the list for modernisation of stations.
The resumption of construction work between Katra and Qazigund section in the Kashmir rail link project is also likely to be announced in the budget. The work has been stopped in the 70-km-long due to the alignment problem since last September.
More trains like the popular Garib Raths launched during Lalu Prasad’s tenure are expected to be announced.
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”However, they will not be named as Garib Raths,” a source said, adding “few such trains may be announced for the eastern region. There is also a likelihood of introduction of non-AC coaches in such trains.”
Railway minister Mamata Banerjee, who is giving final touches to the budget, has expressed her intention to bring to the fore the humane side of railways.
Announcement of more rail overbridges and rail underbridges at unmanned level crossings to curb accidents may also find a mention in the budget.
Introduction of integrated security system at major stations to strengthen security might also be announced.
Access control, baggage screening, CCTV installation and bomb detection and disposal system are to be introduced as critical component of the integrated security system at stations.
Filling up of vacant posts in the RPF and modernising the fleet along with providing special training to the forces in view of the enhanced security threat perception is also expected in the budget.
While the usual announcement of new trains and new lines are to find mention in the budget speech, more emphasis could be given on passenger amenities, sources said.
There were complaints against non-availability of food at reasonable rate at railway stations and also the quality of food available in trains.
The introduction of combo meals like rice and fish curry, vegetable biryani, paratha-omlet at Rs20 a plate and easy availability of janata meals like poori-sabzi at Rs10 a packet at stations are likely to be mentioned in the budget.
Mamata might also announced steps for supply of foods to passengers if the trains run hours behind schedule.
She might also lay focus on punctuality of trains.
Besides capacity enhancement at existing railway production units, some new projects in West Bengal might also find a mention in the budget.
Mamata is also likely to announce the scrapping of side middle berth in passenger trains.
The 139 country-wide passenger information service is expected to be made more user-friendly.
Keeping the shortage of porters in mind, the budget may see announcement of engaging more porters in stations.
Railways may also announce uplinking trains with satellite to know their exact position to provide accurate information on real time basis to passengers.