Rail Budget goes to Bengal

Himanshu Shekhar

Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee was presenting Rail Budget in Parliament but she was eyeing Writer’s Building of Kolkata. West Bengal is going for assembly election next year. Mamta’s Trinmool Congress has done well in parliamentary election of 2009 and she is trying to repeat or even improve this performance in coming assembly election of West Bengal. Everybody knows she wants to be Chief Minister of Bengal. She is doing whatever she can do to woo voters of her home state.

Mamta Banerjee has announced to develop 94 Adarsh stations across the country. Out of these, 28 are in Bengal. On the other hand she has announced to develop 22 stations of Bengal to multi-functional complex. She has tried her best to woo urban voters of Bengal. That’s why she has decided to give four extensions to the Kolkata Metro. She has also announced to give more sub-urban trains on the Howrah and Sealdah sector and two more women specials.

Minister of Railway announced 16 Bharat Tirth trains in her Budget speech. Out of these five will start from Howrah. She has announced 10 new Duronto trains and Bengal got three of these. Bengal has got 17 of the 53 new express trains announced by Mamta in her Budget Speech. Five of the nine new railway line projects are also in Bengal. She has decided to develop Bolpur and Kharagpur railway station to world-class terminals. Mamta promises a coach factory to Singur and a rail axle factory to New Jalpaiguri. Haldia and Burdwan of Bengal will get wagon factory.

There are some good things too for common man in her Budget. In this Rail Budget, there is no hike in passenger fares of any class or category of trains. She has not raised freight charges. Even freight charges have been reduced by Rs. 100 per wagon for food grains for domestic use and kerosene. Now, Cancer patient can travel without paying a penny to Railway. Service charge on e-tickets reduced to Rs. 10 for Sleeper Class and Rs. 20 for AC Class. Now, Question papers of Railway exams will be available in local state languages besides Hindi, Urdu and English.

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