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Freight hiked, passengers spared: 10 Rail Budget highlights

Railway minister announces five-year outlay at Rs 8.5 lakh cr; Plan expenditure hike of 52% to Rs 1.11 lakh cr for 2015-16

BS Reporter  |  Mumbai 

Suresh Prabhu
Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu at Rail Bhavan before leaving for Parliament to present the Rail Budget 2015-16 in New Delhi.

1. Relief to common man: No increase in passenger fares

2. Freight not spared: rates hiked 10% for urea, 2.7% for cement and 6.3% for coal, 0.8% for iron and steel.

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3. Operations: Operating ratio to improve to 88.5% in 2015-16 compared with targetted 91.8% in 2014-15

4. Finances: Five-year outlay at Rs 8.5 lakh crore; Plan expenditure in Railways to he hiked 52% to Rs 1.11 lakh crore for 2015-16; 77 projects totalling Rs 96,182 crore on cards to expand capacity

5. Largesse for Mumbaikars: MUTP-III to be taken up, Air-conditioned coaches on the cards on Suburban network, feasibility on Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed train at advanced stage

6. Safety: Rs 6,581 cr earmarked on level crossing safety; train protection warning system to prevent fires; collision avoiding system; 917 safety work projects to eliminate over 3,000 unmanned crossings in all states; Audio visual warning, radio based signals design, unmanned level crossing on cards to enhance safety; Five years safety plan will be ready by June 2015; Surveillance camera on cards for women's safety, financing from Nirbhaya fund

7. Efficiency: Speed of 9 rail corridors to be improved to 160-200 kmph from current 110-130 kmph; speed on empty freight trains be increased to 100 km, and 75km for loaded trains; Bullet-like trains on the cards that can run on existing tracks

8. Modernisation: 6,000 km of route km to be electrified in 2015-16, up from 462 route km in 2014-15; 800 km of gauge conversion on cards

9. Convenience: Proposes to move towards paperless ticketing; Now, book your tickets 120 days in advance; Rs 120 crore provided for lifts and escalators at Railway stations; Phone charging facilities will be provided in trains; Online booking of wheelchairs for seniors, physically challenged passengers; Food can be ordered through IRCTC website while booking tickets, Wifi availability at B class stations too; To introduce operation 5 minutes to allow unreserved passengers to book tickets in 5 minutes

10.Cleanliness: 17,000 toilets to be replaced and modernised; vacuum-based toilets on cards; new toilets in 650 railway stations; Railways will set up waste management plants to dispose off waste; will work on Swacch Rail in lines with Swacch Bharat

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First Published: Thu, February 26 2015. 13:43 IST