Fund under the name of ‘Pradhan Mantri Rail Vikas Yojna' to be set up for socially desirable projects

Apart from 56 new express trains, nine Durontos and three Shatabdis, the Railway budget for 2011-12 promises to introduce a new category of trains named “Rajya Rani Express” to connect State capitals with important cities within the States. Ten of them will be launched in the next fiscal year.

Among the projects promised are a Bridge Factory in Jammu and Kashmir; an institute for Tunnel and Bridge Engineering in Jammu; a Metro Coach Factory in Singur; a diesel locomotive centre in Manipur; a Centre of Excellence in Software in Darjeeling; three wagon factories at Kolar, Alappuzha and Buniadpur; a factory for manufacturing on-track machines and a new track machine facility at Uluberia; Rail Industrial Parks at Jhellingham and New Bongaigaon; a 700 MW gas-based power plant in Thakurli (Maharashtra); and mechanised laundry cleaning units in Nagpur, Chandigarh and Bhopal.

To take care of socially desirable projects, a fund under the name of ‘Pradhan Mantri Rail Vikas Yojna' will be set up. A separate fund will be created by railway projects in the northeast with the promise that all State capitals except for that of Sikkim will be given a railway connection.

10,000 shelters

The Railways intends to construct 10,000 shelters for those living near tracks in Mumbai, Sealdah, Siliguri, and Tiruchirapalli on a pilot basis.

Concessions in fares to physically handicapped persons have been extended to the Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains. The same facility has been extended to Kirti and Shaurya Chakra awardees, and the facility of card passes will be extended to parents of unmarried posthumous Param Vir Chakra and Ashok Chakra gallantry award winners.

For senior citizens, the concession has been increased from 30 to 40 per cent, and the benefit will accrue to women from the age of 58 as against 60.

The proposed benefits to railway employees include medical facilities to dependent parents, a scholarship of Rs.1,200 per month to girl children of Group D employees, setting up a Railway Vidyalaya Prabandhan Board, and the creation of a separate sports cadre to benefit sportspersons.

As many as 1.78 lakh vacant Group D posts will be filled covering backlogs for reservations provided to various categories, and the Railway Protection Force has been allowed to recruit over 13,000 personnel.

The Railways also intends to give employment to over 16,000 ex-servicemen.

A new portal for e-ticketing will be launched under which booking of tickets will become cheaper with a charge of only Rs.10 for AC classes and Rs.5 for others as against Rs.20 and Rs.10 respectively being charged as of now.

The Railways hopes to end the year with a Rs.4,105-crore surplus during the current financial year, and for the first time expects to earn in excess of Rs.1 lakh crore in 2011-12, aiming for the gross traffic receipts to be around Rs.1.06 lakh crore and after adjusting for working expenses (Rs.73,650 crore), appropriation to depreciation (Rs.7,000 crore), and dividend payment of Rs.6,735 crore, estimate to generate a surplus of Rs.5,258 crore and bring the operating ratio down to 91.1 per cent.

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