New Delhi/Chennai, Feb 26 () : The railway budget announced 14 new trains for Tamil Nadu.
Presenting Rs 24,000 crore loss in the last fiscal, Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal ruled out a hike in passenger fare with a 5% hike in freight. Supplementary charges on super-fast trains and increase in reservation and tatkal charges along with cancellation charges were announced. Freight was expected to grow 9% in the coming year.
Those booking through internet and railway website server would be made bigger to enable 7000 tickets to be booked per minute and the bookings will start at midnight. Booking through mobiles will be enabled.
67 express trains and 27 passenger trains are introduced. 14 new trains have been allotted to Tamil Nadu and number of bogies has been increased from nine to twelve.
Rail link between Sriperumbudur and Gudvancheri, Chennai-Thanjavur, Palani- Trichendur, Chennai- Trichy rail extend to Karikudi, Kovai- Mannargudi, Chennai- Tirupati EMU, Chennai- Palani, Chennai Egmore- Thanjavur, Kovai- Tirupathi, Chennai- Shirdi, Nagercoil-Kollam, Nagercoil- Bangalore daily service.
Passenger trains from Nagercoil to Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli will be run every day. Madurai- Chennai Duronto express will run twice a week. Kovai- Mannargudi and linking Kanyakumari to Puduchery are the other extensions.
Kovai- Rameswaram will be a weekly service and Puducherry- Tirupati linking as well laying tracks from Thanjavur to Pattukottai are in place.
Tamil Nadu has got quite a good share of new trains but it has been received with scepticism since some trains announced in the last budget are yet to be commissioned. The budget has given the central Tamil Nadu otherwise known as Cauvery belt get a lion’s share.
Political parties in the opposition as mere wishes and hopes of the Railway Minister and the formation of a rail fare authority is seen as move to increase fare in future as diesel prices shoot up.
Introduction of food monitoring units and doing away with use of plastic items in the railways as well as wi-fi in select trains,quota for handicapped and reservation of quota for women in RPF as well promise to fill 1.43 lakh job vacancies has been welcomed.