No hike in fares, freight rates in Rail Budget

Railway minister Mamata Banerjee proposes no increase in passenger fares and freight rates, reduces tariffs for transportation of key items

The Railway Budget for 2010-11 unveiled today proposed no increase in passenger fares and freight rates while reducing the tariff by Rs100 per wagon for transportation of foodgrains, kerosene and fertilisers to tackle the price rise, reports PTI.

The Budget, presented by railway minister Mamata Banerjee in the Lok Sabha, also proposed to reduce the maximum limit of service charge on e-booking of tickets to Rs10 for sleeper class and Rs20 for AC class. The present maximum charge is Rs15 and Rs40, respectively.

This is the seventh year in a row that passenger fares have not been raised.

Announcing a slew of concessions for passengers, Ms Banerjee proposed free travel for cancer patients going for treatment in three-tier AC and sleeper class and continuance of concessions for students of madrassas and journalists.

The minister said 101 new suburban services will be introduced in Mumbai and more services will be launched in Kolkata and Chennai.

A special train, named 'Sanskriti Express', to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore will run across the country and also to Bangladesh.

Special tourist trains called 'Bharat Teerth' will be started on 16 routes while six long-distance non-stop Duronto Express and four short-distance Duronto day trains will be introduced, the railway minister said.

The Budget estimates for 2010-11 pegs the freight loading target at 944 million tonnes, an increase of 54 million tonnes over the current year's revised estimates. Passenger traffic is likely to grow by 5.3%.

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