RTTNews - Mamata Banerjee, the Railway Minister, presenting the railway budget proposals for 2009-10 in parliament, announced that there would be no raise in passenger fares and freight tariff. She proposed an outlay of Rs.40,745 crore for this fiscal year.

Of this, Rs.2921 crore was allotted for new lines and Rs.1,750 crore would be spent for gauge-conversion. She proposed Rs.1,102 crore for passenger amenities, more than 119% compared to the interim budget. She also said that Rs.424 crore would be spent on amenities for railway staff, and proposed a freight-loading target of 882 MT and estimated gross freight receipt at Rs.88,419 crore.

The Minister announced 12 new point-to-point, non-stop 'Duronto' trains, 57 new train services, extension of 27 trains and increase in the frequency of 13 trains. She further proposed air-conditioned double-decker coaches for inter-city travel. She said that both the advance booking-time and minimum charge would be reduced. She said a perceptible improvement would be ensured in passenger amenities and safety; also, security would be given utmost importance. Cleanliness and the quality of railway catering would be improved with focus on strict monitoring. She proposed that ticketing facilities would be taken to the grass-root level.

Banerjee said that 50 stations would be developed as world class stations and 375 stations as 'Adarsh Stations' with improved basic amenities. Multi-functional complexes with shopping facilities, food stalls, budget hotels were to be constructed at 50 railway stations, serving as centres of pilgrimage, tourism and industry.

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