Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Railway Minister Lalu Prasad has asked the railwaymen to pledge for achieving higher standards of passenger services.

In his New Year message to them, the Minister acknowledged that the Railways have done exceedingly well in turning around the financial health of the nation's life-line and said that there was need to do much more to improve our image in the minds of passengers.

"We also have to do a great deal in improving our performance in `Touch and Feel areas' and try to win the hearts of our esteemed passengers by setting new standards of punctuality, cleanliness, lighting, safe drinking water, quality food and bedrolls. "Let us celebrate the year 2006 as the year dedicated to passenger service with a smile and make every passenger `feel the difference' while travelling in trains," he said, promising a Staff Welfare Plan to address the employees' grievances relating to upkeep staff quarters and railway colonies.