LS approves rail budget after addition of two trains

LS approves rail budget after addition of two trains

New Delhi: The Lok Sabha approved of the Railway Budget for the year 2009-10 by a voice vote after rail minister Mamata Banerjee added two more trains to the ones she announced on 3 July.

The minister announced two more non-stop trains to the proposed 12 and said two of the 14 would start running within a month.

Banerjee also increased the number of stations that would be converted into model, international-standard stations. Mint could not immediately ascertain the number of new stations to be covered under the scheme.

Reacting to questions raised by Ananth Kumar, member of Parliament of opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, about the railways’ finances for the previous five years under former minister Lalu Prasad, Banerjee said investable surplus would fall to around Rs8,361 crore because of a Rs28,200 crore allocation due to the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendations and the dividend the railways paid to the government.

Banerjee also said the proposed white paper on the railways’ past performance was not aimed at any individual.

“We are not here to build up balances. We are here to build up infrastructure," she said.

The minister said Amit Mitra, secretary general of industry lobby group Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, would head a committee to prepare a business plan to improve the railways.

Banerjee said she was in favour of a 50% quota for local residents for new hires and promised to review the process of intake.

PTI contributed to this story.