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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bansal's Railway Budget highlights - connecting Arunachal Pradesh by rail

Naharlagun is a picturesque town, surrounded by mountains,  situated in the foothills of Himalayas in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, 10 km the capital city of Itanagar, it is at an altitude of 200 metres from sea level.

Do you what this list would be that comprises of : John Mathai, N. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Jagjivan Ram, Sardar Swaran Singh, Gulzari Lal Nanda, Prof. Madhu Dandavate, Madhav Rao Scindia, George Fernandes, C. K. Jaffer Sheriff, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Ram Vilas Paswan, Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee, Laloo Prasad Yadav, Manmohan Singh……….. not exhaustive though to….. Pawan Kumar Bansal

Pawan Kumar Bansal, the MP elected from Chandigarh currently the Minister of Railways.  The list is that of Railway Ministers of India from Independence.  Today, Pawankumar Bansal presented the Railway budget. As most of the budgets promised, this budget speaks of ‘67 new express trains to be introduced; 27 passenger trains, 8 DEMUs’

That was not enough as the opposition disrupted the  Rail Budget speech over new train announcements.  There is no escalation in the passenger fares even when the diesel prices are on the rise.  There is marginal increase in cancellation, reservation charges.  Railway revenues to show a balance of Rs 12,506 crore in 2013-14.  There is a proposal for setting up Railway Energy Management Company to harness solar and wind energy; New coach manufacturing and maintenance facilities to be set up in various places including Rae Bareli, Bhilwara, Sonepat, Kalahandi, Kolar, Palakkad and Pratapgarh; Common rail-bus ticket to be introduced for Katra-Vaishnodevi pilgrims.

Internet booking to be strengthened with next-generation e-ticketing system to eliminate delays and to be provided from 0030 hours to 2330 hours.  Special A/C coaches ‘Anubhuti’, to be introduced in select Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains to give excellent ambience with commensurate fare; SMS alert service being rolled out shortly to intimate passengers about reservation status; Free wi-fi facility to be provided in select trains; Railways to set up six more Rail Neer bottling plants

Most importantly, Arunachal Pradesh is now connected and is in the Railway map of the country. The Railway Minister has now announced laying of the first track from Harmoti in Assam to Naharlagun in Arunachal Pradesh. The distance between Harmoti and Naharlagun is 23 km. The track is likely to be commissioned within the next fiscal year. The addition of Arunachal Pradesh to the rail network is of immense importance given its remoteness and also due to its proximity to China. The introduction of railways in the state is likely to boost India’s defence preparedness in the India-China border.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th Feb 2013.

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