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Updated: February 20, 2010 14:40 IST

Mamata gives final touches to Railway Budget

K. Balchand
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Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury
Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday gave final touches to the Railway Budget for 2010-11, which is to be presented on Wednesday.

Ms. Banerjee discussed all issues threadbare with the Railway Board chairman S.S. Khurana and its top officials.

On Thursday, Ms. Banerjee met with Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Informed sources said Mr. Mukherjee allowed Ms. Banerjee to announce any number of projects of her choice in the budget and any scheme to raise money for financing safety measures to avoid accidents and save lives of passengers and railway property.

But he did not miss the opportunity to express his surprise at the last minute proposals put forward before the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure (of which he is the chairman) for approval of railway projects when budget presentation is scheduled in less than a week, reports say.

He is said to have made it clear that it was not possible to assure any budgetary support to any project at this juncture that too when the government was battling to cope with its fiscal deficit.

Ms. Banerjee sought approval for at least two dozen projects, some of which are to take roots in West Bengal, and creation of a second Special Railway Safety Fund (SRSF) for raising about Rs. 20,000 crore. The railways had raised Rs. 17,000 crore earlier.

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