SYNOPSIS OF DEBATES
(Proceedings other than Questions & Answers)
Thursday, March 21, 2002 / Phalguna 30, 1923 (Saka)
MATTERS UNDER RULE 377
(i) Need to encourage Bt. Cotton growers particularly in Gujarat.
SHRI P.S. GADHAVI : Bt. cotton is genetically modified to resist the pest and has the potential to dramatically improve crops while cutting down the use of pesticides. I, therefore, urge the Government that cotton growers particularly in Gujarat and other parts of the country be allowed to grow this Bt. Cotton.
(ii) Need to provide computerized reservation facility at Balaghat railway station, Madhya Pradesh.
SHRI PRAHLAD SINGH PATEL : The gauge conversion work from Gondia to Balaghat-Jabalpur is in progress. Rail route to Balaghat is likely to be cut off due to widening of rail routes. As a result, the people of Balaghat would have to go to Gondia and Nagpur railway station for the reservation. Hence, computerized railway reservation facility need to be provided at Balaghat station before the rail route to this station is cut off. I would also request the Government to ensure that the gauge conversion work is completed as per the time scheduled.
(iii) Need to set up a mineral smelting plant in Singhbhum Parliamentary Constituency, Jharkhand.
SHRI LAXMAN GILUWA : There is a huge deposits of minerals at Chidiya Iron ore Mines, Manoharpur under my Parliamentary constituency. The deposits of minerals are so huge that they cannot be mined even in five thousand years ahead. The minerals extracted from these mines have to be transported to Burnpur for smelting. The local tribal people will get employment if a factory to smelt the minerals is set up here. It would also lead to the development of this region. Hence, I request the Government to take immediate steps to implement my proposal.
(iv) Need to provide financial assistance to Government of Madhya Pradesh to provide relief to betal growers of `Pan Umaria' in Katni district whose crops were damaged due to hail storms.
SHRIMATI JAYASHREE BANERJEE : The Betal crops of the Betal growers at `Pan Umaria' of district Katni under my Parliamentary constituency, Jabalpur has been damaged due to untimely hail storms on 11th February. The farmers are faced with starvation deaths due to the damage to their crops. I request the Government to send a Central Relief Team for the assessment of the damage and to provide relief to the Betal growers.
(v) Need to empower Panchayati Raj Institutions in the Union Territory of Chandigarh.
SHRI PAWAN KUMAR BANSAL : Even after ten years of 73rd & 74th Amendment of the Constitution none of 29 functions enumerated in 11th Schedule have been transferred to Panchayati Raj Institutions in Chandigarh. Even an office has not been allotted to the Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad yet. The Municipal Corporation has also not been encouraged to perform its Constitutional role and all the real powers continue to vest in the Administration. I urge, the Government to take immediate steps to make the local self government institutions in Chandigarh vibrant unit of grass root level democracy and transfer to them the necessary functions and authority.
(vi) Need for all-round development of Karandighi Assembly Segment of West Bengal.
SHRI PRIYA RANJAN DASMUNSI : Karandighi Assembly segment of West Bengal is the newly born district of Uttar Dinajpur of Maharashtra. It is one of the largest Assembly segments in West Bengal having no industry, agriculture marketing or any developmental activities. The 33rd and 34th National Highway is the gateway to North-East and unless the road-over bridge at Dalkola Railway crossing is built expeditiously, the area will remain backward. I call upon the Planning Ministry to coordinate the issue with the concerned Union Ministries and the State Government at the earliest.
(vii) Need to expedite construction of power grid stations in Maharajganj Parliamentary Constituency, Bihar.
SHRI PRABHUNATH SINGH : The Power Grid Corporation has since completed all the formalities to set up a 220 K.V. sub-station at Maharajganj and 33 K.V. sub-station at Baniyapur in district Siwan under my Parliamentary constituency. However, Bihar Electricity Board has yet to issue no-objection certificate to these proposals and the construction of these power grid stations is yet to begin. I would like to urge upon the Government to complete all the formalities at the earliest and also initiate the construction work of these grid stations.
(viii) Need to ban export of meat.
SHRI BHARTRUHARI MAHTAB : Cattle are vital for production of food and fodder and form an inseparable part of the rural economy. But in the early 90s, the Government declared that meat exports was a thrust area offering incentives and subsidies for the purpose and since then exports had gone up. The Planning Commission, in the process of formulating the Tenth Plan, had made known its intention of doubling the earning from meat exports from the present level of Rs. 1000 crore. I urge upon the Government to discourage export of meat as the myopic policy will only encouraging mindless slaughter of lakhs of dumb cattle.
(ix) Need to clarify constitutional or representative status of Muslim Personal Law Board.
DR. NITISH SENGUPTA : I would like to request the Government to clarify whether Muslim Personal Law Board is a constitutional or representative body as whenever some communal disharmony takes place in any part of the country, the above said Muslim Personal Law Board comes forward suo motu or Government repeatedly enters into discussion with this body.
(x) Need to provide financial assistance to Government of Bihar to solve the problem of water-logging in Saharsa, Bihar.
SHRI DINESH CHANDRA YADAV : Lakhs of acres of land to the east of Eastern-Koshi embankment under my Parliamentary constituency, Saharsa (Bihar)remain water-logged throughout the year. As a result, the farmers cannot cultivate their land. They are falling prey to starvation deaths. This water-logging problem remains unsolved in want of financial resources. Hence, I request the Government to provide financial assistance to Government of Bihar to solve the problem of water-logging thereby saving the lakhs of farmers from starvation deaths.
(xi) Need to set up industries in Siwan Parliamentary Constituency, Bihar.
MOHD. SHAHABUDDIN : There is a great financial crisis in the present State of Bihar after its partition on account of non-implementation of the assurance given by the Union Government for the betterment of its economic condition. My parliamentary constituency, Siwan is a major district of the State. Hence, I demand to set up industries in Siwan for its development as the infrastructure particularly for agro-based industries already exists in the district. Hence, I appeal to the Government to revive the closed industries as well as set up new industries in the district.
THE BUDGET (RAILWAYS) 2002-2003
DEMANDS FOR GRANTS ON ACCOUNT (RAILWAYS), 2002-2003
SUPPLEMENTARY DEMANDS FOR GRANTS (RAILWAYS), 2001-2002
SHRI C.K. JAFFER SHARIEF : I am grateful to you for giving me this opportunity to initiate discussion on the Railway Budget. The railwaymen are capable of working hard and are prepared to face any eventuality. I am happy to note that the Minister of Railways had taken pains to show courage not only to increase the fares of passenger ticket but also the season ticket. This should be welcomed by one and all. With our experience in the Government we have a constructive mind. We want the benefit of our experience to continue to benefit the country.
The problems of the Railways, the working of the Railways is a vast subject. It is only those who have worked with the Railways, that understand what the exact problems of the system are. Railways is the basic infrastructure necessary for the economic development of the country. Whenever the Budget exercise is being done, various trade and industries come and put pressure. it is therefore a very diffficult exercise for the Railway Minister to do. The total tonnage of revenue earning traffic during April-December, 2000 was 347.83 MT and the same for the period from April-December, 2001 was only 357.26 MT. The percentage of operating ratio has been very alarming. It is indicative of poor management of men and material. We have the uni-gauge policy and we have the capacity to carry more. The capacity has increased with the multi-gauge system that we have. Then why is it that still the operating ratio is high? The safety performance has been the cry of all the Railway Ministers. The situation is that out of 473 train accidents during 2000-01, 261 were passenger train accidents and 212 were freight train accidents. Mostly, accidents are attributed to human failure. I may say that we have a welfare department. The Social Welfare Inspectors are supposed to visit the working class and see that these people are doing any effective role or not. Another area is catering. I am told that you are now shifting the entire policy. I do not know but I believe the multinationals are coming here. We are bringing Voluntary Retirement Scheme. We are not being able to create more job opportunities. We are going for disinvestment and liberalisation. We must think where are we leading our people? But if we allow multinationals to enter into every area and try to make more people jobless, perhaps we are taking the country towards anarchy.
He has come out with an innovative idea of Railneer. But I do not know whether Railneer will come to his rescue. They have come out with the idea of the Railways establishing power stations. Why does railway need these power stations? There are State Electricity Boards. There is NTPC also. Nothing has been done to bring about discipline in the investment. The Railways, have pointed out that over Rs. 35,000 crore would be needed for completing the sanctioned projects. Of these, projects costing about Rs. 23,000 crore are non-viable ones. Can any commercial organisation anywhere in the world sustain this level of non-viable investment? We will have to seriously think about it. Electrification has gone too far behind the target indicated in the Corporate Plan. I suggest that we should re-organise the Board. Departmentalism has been the bane of the Railways. To relieve the Board Members of day-to-day responsibilities and concentrate on policy aspects, the additional Members should be fully empowered to settle operational matters finally at their level.
As I said earlier, a proper capital structure suiting a commercial enterprise needs to be brought in place. I would request the hon. Minister of Railways to spell out clearly the route by which he proposed to bring back the Railways to its earlier glory. We have made a name not only inside the country but also outside the country. I would like to know whether we are still in that position of instilling confidence among the third world countries. I would also like to voice as to what the people of Karnataka expect from me. The Government have given only Rs. 25 lakh for Bangalore-Sathyamangala new line. The Government have sanctioned Rs. 9 crore for Kadur-Chickmangalore line. It is good. For Bangalore-Hussan line, the Government have sanctioned Rs.8 crore. The Government could have given more money because it is an on-going project. The same is case with Bangalore- K.R. Puram-Whitefield line. The Government can take away this money of Rs. 1 lakh and use it somewhere.
DR. LAXMINARAYAN PANDEYA supporting the railway budget for the year 2002-2003, said: Several important projects of railways are either not completed or delayed due to financial constraints and lack of proper management. Railways play a pivotal role in the industrial development of the country. They also contribute to the convenient and smooth transportation of goods from one place to another at a cheaper cost. Railways have not only tried to augment its financial resources but has also worked in the direction of optimum utilization of its resources.
Today we are in a position to export rail engines and coaches. There has been a decline in the number of railway accidents and casualties during the last three years. The work performance in respect of the safety and security is commendable. The Khanna committee constituted for the purpose of railway security has given its recommendation in regard to minimizing the number of railway accidents and to ensure the safety of passengers. These recommendations have been accepted by the Government.
The announcement in respect to introduction of 16 new Shatabadi trains has been made in the Budget speech. The endeavour has been to extend the benefit to the maximum number of people. There is a need to mobilize resources from any possible area to provide more facilities to the passengers. The Government have taken steps in this direction.
A long pending project in my constituency should be completed at the earliest. The gauge conversion between Ratlam and Neemuch is a viable project. If it gets connected to Ratlam it would provide a second route from Ratlam to Kota. The standing committee on railways had also recommended this. A provision of Rs.25 crore has been made in the budget, which should be enhanced so as to complete the work speedily.
The procedure and functioning of the Railway Recruitment Board has changed. The vacancies should be filled early in order to bring about improvement in the functioning of the railways. There is a need to bring about comprehensive reforms in the system of suburban railways.
The news regarding privatization of loss making routes has been published in the newspaper. I would like the Minister to apprise us about the matter. Immediate action should be taken by the Railways to provide safe drinking water to the passengers. There is also a dire need to ensure the safety of passengers and to have proper coordination between the railway police or GRPF on the one hand and the resources available on the other.
The railways suffer losses to the tune of 4 to 5 crore rupees everyday due to disruption of railway traffic as a result of dense fog during winters. I would like to know whether railways have formulated any scheme to avoid this loss. I demand the introduction of a direct train from Neemuch to Delhi or Nizamuddin. Similarly the trains running from Kota Chittorgarh should be extended to Neemuch. There is a mention of model stations also. Ratlam, Indore, Mandsaur and Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh can be developed into model stations. The computerized reservation centers have also been set up. I desire that one such centre should also be set up at Shyamgarh.
The railway employees should be provided with housing facilities, medical and educational facilities. The gauge conversion work would benefit Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. And it would enhance the revenue facilitate traffic and the will make travelling of passengers more convenient. I had also requested that a train from Jammu-Tawi to Mumbai via Rajkot Ahmedabad should be given a stoppage at Shyamgarh. Likewise the train from Sejaipur to Bombay should be given a stoppage at Suwaswada. I hope the Minister will accord his approval to the proposal. There is also a need to increase the number of general coaches in the trains.
PROF. A.K. PREMAJAM : To commemorate the 150th year of the railways inception, the hon. Minister has declared this year as Passenger Amenities Year. As per the Status Paper presented by Shri Nitish Kumar, the statistics show that it has emerged as 62,000 route kilometres, the goods traffic has approximately reached 489 million tonnes and the number of passenger has reached 4,73,461 million in 2001-02. The Indian railways are the nations lifeline. Regarding the investment trends, capital from general exchequer has actually dwindled very much during the Ninth Plan. In the Eighth Plan if it was 42 per cent, it has come down to 22 per cent in 1998-98. In the Ninth Plan, the proposed Plan fund for track renewals, rolling stock, maintenance, etc. is just 2.77 per cent. The broad gauge is overburdened. It is 63 per cent of the total network and carries 89 per cent of the passengers and 95 per cent of the freight goods, as per the Status Paper. So, this actually should be given more importance.
When we deal with human resource development, what is actually fond is that the right-sizing of the entire set up of administration is done at the lower level. Over lakhs of vacancies are lying vacant in the Railways in different parts of the country. The Railway Board is in my opinion is a white elephant. It should be streamlined. When do the right sizing at the lowest level, actually to some extent the safety of the passengers is also at risk. The hon. Minister has said that regarding the freight services as well as passengers services some anomalies have been crept in. These anomalies should be removed and there should be proper rationalisation. The ultimate result of the revised classification and fixing of the freight charge for new classification is that there is a very high hike in the prices of essential commodities. When freight on essential commodities is increased, the greatest suffer of this will be the people of my State who depend for foodgrains and other things on other States and everything has to be carried through the railways. There is a record hike of nearly eight percentage hike on average, keeping the mail/express second class as the base. Then, the rate of the second-class monthly season tickets has also been hiked very much. At the same time, the cost of AC-Ist class travel is reduced.
Here, with the freight hike and also the passenger fare hike, of course, the Railways are getting a good chunk of money, that is, Rs.1,360 crore. There is a five per cent surcharge on income tax also in the name of Defence. But it is a flat rate for the ordinary tax-payers and the corporate management or the business house etc. That means the burden is falling very heavily on the ordinary man and not on the upper class or the higher echelons of the society. It was declared to be a Year of the Passenger, dedicated to the passenger amenities etc., and it is an irony that this has happened like this. Coming to project allocation, there are three major criteria. The hon. Minister also wants to have transparency in allocation. It is very highly appreciated. However, when you go into the details of the criteria, you feel rather cheated, though that may not be the intention.
I come from a small State. Naturally, being a small area, the allocation would be very limited. We have made our own contribution to the General Budget as well as the Railway Budget. Now, we are going to be penalised because we are a small State, and our population is also very limited. We are actually punished for being progressive. An equal distribution of funds should be there. In my State a large number of people who had been to the States of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan are now afraid of going back. How could tourism flourish if this is the state of affairs under this Government? In Uttar Pradesh, the compartments of the trains are almost vacant. Please do not think that I am speaking out of context. This is very much related to the Railways ambitious scheme of sponsoring and boosting tourism. Would tourists from abroad come to India if this is the State of affairs in our country? A suitable atmosphere should be created in this country for carrying out this ambitious project of boosting tourism in this country. The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation appears to be a very ambitious project. From the details of the tenders, it appears that instead of trying to improve upon the passenger amenities, particularly of the ordinary people, it is aimed at curtailing them. The price of the food items would be much more than it is today. It would result in the throwing out of jobs a large number of employees who are now employed in the present catering service. On behalf of the people of Kerala, I would like to congratulate the hon. Minister for having allotted some new trains. This Cannanore to Bangalore train has been proposed as a weekly train. I would like to request the hon. Minister to make it daily.
Regarding allocation to our State, we have got Rs.78 crore less than what we have got last year. Regarding doubling the railway line I request the Minister to kindly double a short corridor of Kayamkulam-Ernakulam and Kottayam-Allepey in order to reap full benefits of Konkan Railway. There has been demand for a new line from Tellicherry-Mysore-Nanjangod for which I have been harping from the very beginning but it has been turned down. I am very grateful for some new over-bridges in my Constituency. But only a token fund is given in the case of the road over-bridge. The request for a pit line in Malabr region is a necessity and it should kindly be included. Construction of the other over-bridges in the Malabar region is moving very fast but a very limited fund is allotted during this year. So, this matter may also be kindly examined.
SHRI KIRIT SOMAIYA : I would like to draw the attention of Hon'ble Railway Minister towards a unique provision regarding changing the slabs of season ticket. Manytimes reference is made to Rakesh Mohan Committee. The basic fundamental of the Committee regarding the season ticket holder are provided this facility/reimbursement by their employer is faulty. So there is a need to look into the matter.
The Passenger amenities are need on (Mulund, Bhadup, Kanjurmarg, Vikhroli, Ghatkopar, Vidyavihar, Tilak Nagar, Chembur, Govandi, Manhurd, Suburban Railway Stations of Mumbai. Common budgetary provisions needed for all these stations. And also the provision of extension counter on both East and West sides of these Railway Stations proper running and provision of coupon validating machines, provision and maintenance of "touch-screen' machines, computerized Session Ticket booking system at Kanjurmarg, Tilak Nagar Govandi Railways stations and at all stations Eastern Side, all ticket, cards, session ticket windows are very irregular. Proper functioning and maintenance of time is necessary. Provision of Police Chowki/Booth, on all these 10 stations, provision of new FOBs at Kanjurmarg (CST end) Tilak Nagar, Govandhi, extension of FOB at Mankhurd, Vidyavihar (Thane end), Ghatkopar, Bhandup (CST end), provision of two-wheeler pay and park on both east and west sides of these 10 Railway stations, provision of thick session passes required on all 10 Railway stations. Provision of new PRS system at Mankhurd Station, provision of new booking offices in new Railway Station building, provision of shade on Railway platform, exit-entry gate clearance and removal of unauthorized stalls on all these Railway stations.
SHRI VINAY KUMAR SORAKE : There is a vast expanse of surplus railway land, which could be exploited commercially but no such plan has been mooted in the Budget for 2002. In my constituency, the Mangalore-Hassan link is dismantled long back and the work is abndoned because of non-allocation of funds for the on-going project.
Passenger fares have been increased but no commensurate improvements in passenger amenities have been introduced. As far passenger amenities and convenience on Konkan route is concerned, most of the long-distance trains coming from New Delhi and Mumbai pass through Udupi and Kankanady at the mid of the night and the travellers are stranded for want of onward road connections. Udupi is a big commercial, tourist and pilgrim centre. It is necessary to provide a two-minute stop for Trivandurm-Delhi Rajdhani Express at Udupi on both the directions. For other Express trains, a stop-over at Kundapura is demanded. Hygeinic upkeep of the railway station premises in addition of passenger amenities at Udupi, Kundapura and Kankanady need a mention.
The Class IV permanent way staff who were working for KRC as casual labour are now jobless. They may be given vending licence for food/refreshment/newspaper stalls at Stations in the region. The Railways (KRC) can also provide jobs for the jobless ex-KRC employees through Town Booking agencies, Out-agencies etc.
The most important works demanded by local residents and NGOs are: Providing Road Overbridge near Kankanady Railway Station, brief stop over for Trivandrum Rajdhani Express at Udupi, manned/unmanned level crossing near Baikampady overbridge, road under the railway track at Alape Village, near Kodakal on Hassan-Mangalore rail link needs an approach road/link road from the point of view of safety, Way leave facility for the residents of Konguru Mutt Road, Kulshekhar PO, Mangalore, upgradation of Suratkal Station. Freight (Goods) train movements are also restricted on Konkan railway route. I request the Railway authorities to pay attention to the local problems faced in my area.
SHRI RAJAIAH MALYALA : I congratulate the hon. Minister for allotting Rs. 280 crore for South-Central Railways. Even after that, the full demand has not been met. I would request the hon. Minister to concede to this request. It is the 150th Year of Railways. It has also been declared as the Tourism Year. But I find that there is no comprehensive plan to attract tourists. I also appeal to the hon. Minister to provide 50 per cent concession to the senior citizens in our country.
Action may also be taken to allocate more funds for Hyderabad Multi-Model Subordinate System and complete it by the end of this year. I would request the hon. Minister to speed up the survey of Narsapur-Kotipalli and Kotipalli-Kakinada lines. It was the aspiration of our late Speaker, Shri Balayogi. I would also like to request the Minister about the new line from Tadepalli to Nizamabad via karimnagar.I am hearing about this line since my childhood. To reach up to Nizamabad it requires another Rs. 200 crore whereas only Rs. 10 crore has been allotted. At this rate, we do not know when it will be completed. I request the hon. Minister to consider one more railway line from Secundrabad to Karimnagar via siddipali as it is a very backward area and very few train facilities are there. I would also request the Minister for construction of flyover bridge near old bus stand, Eluru Town, Construction of flyover bridge at level crossing gate no. 349, in my constituency. I would like to request the hon. Minister to increase the frequency of Waltair-Chennai Express from once a week to tri-weekly. Lastly, security measures must be improved in the train that it becomes convenient for the passengers to travel by train.
SHRI C.N. SINGH : The Indian Railways has the proud history of 150 years. The Railways has declared this year as a `Passenger Year'. But I am sorry to state that the fare of ordinary class has been increased. We have never witnessed such a hefty hike in railway fares. I request him that if he really wants to celebrate this year as a year of passenger then he should extend relief to the farmers. I also request the hon. Minister to extend the facilities of providing free meal to the wards of those poor passengers, who have nothing to eat and travel in train, what have been provided in Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express. Not only that, we find the toilets at railway stations are very dirty. No offices of the railways pay any attention towards this. If the Government increasing the fares then they should definitely see that the toilets at railway stations are neat and clean.
Similarly, the hon. Minister has stated that there are 62,000 Kms. of railway lines in the country at present. But I would like to make it clear that out of these 52,568 Kms. of railway lines had been constructed by the Britishers. The achievement of our Government so far confined to only 9432 Kms. of railway lines. The hon. Minister is also not doing their best endeavour to check the bureaucracy prevailing in railways. We have witnessed that these bureaucrats foumulate new plans for the railways every now and then which results in wasteful expenditure of the Government and ultimately resulting in failure of the said schemes. If we continue doing this wasteful expenditure, what will happen? The hon. Minister has also not paid any attention towards theft in railways. During the auction of railway scrap we have witnessed that the mafias take away goods worth of 20 lakh by paying only Rs.100 and the Ministry of Railways is unable to take any action in this regard which shows their connivance with the official of railways. We have also witnessed that the rail traffic also gets disrupted due to dense fog which results a lot of inconvenince to the commuters. As per the record the Government had to suffer a loss of approximately Rs. 400 crore last year due to this reason. Therefore, we have got to devise such programme which can cater the problem of fog. Similarly, the Ministry of Railways have 16745 hectares of unused land which are of no use. If the Government use this land by constructing some commercial centres then there would have been no need to increase the fare.
I belong to Machhlisahar Parliamentary Constituency where Neelanchal Express train crosses through Jaunpur district but it nowhere stops in that district. I request the hon. Minister to provide a stoppage of Neelanchal Express at Mungra-Badshahpur and Satharia railway stations and also to provide stoppage of Varuna train at Koripur. I also request him to kindly pay the attention towards prevailing corruption in railways and also include MPs to tackle this problem.
With these words, I extend my thanks to both of the hon. Ministers and expect that they will pay attention towards the demands made by me.
The Railways will be benefited by hike in the prices of essential commodities, but the consumers are going to get these commodities at higher rates. I would like to request the hon. Minister to roll back the freight increase on these commodities. The common man would not be burdened by increase in the fare of Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express, but the increase in the fare of ordinary class would definitely affect them. Some trains are running in loss in the country. Is the government propose to privatise these trains? The Government should decrease their fare to avoid loss. I hope that the hon. Minister would pay attention towards my views and take appropriate action on them.
SHRI UTTAMRAO DHIKALE : On behalf of Shiv Sena, I support the Railway Budget. I would like to thank the hon. Minister that passenger fare has not been increased for renovation and modernisation of Railways in the Budget. The fare of Rajdhani and Shatabdi Expresses has not been increased. In this Budget, the facility of refrigerator parcels for transportation of fruits and vegetables has been provided, which is good for farmers. It is a welcome step that the reserved seats for sportsmen have been increased to 1200. A deluxe train from Madgaon to Mumbai has been introduced in Maharashtra. I would like to request for introduction of a deluxe train from Bhusawal to Thane via Jalgaon, Dhulia, Nandubar and Nasik in North Maharahstra. Nasik is a big city. The Express trains namely Kurla to Howrah, Kurla to Patna, Kurla to Nagpur, Mumbai to Lucknow and Mumbai to Bhubneshwar do not halt at Nasik. I request the hon. Minister to provide stoppage for at least 2-3 trains out of 5 trains at Nasik. The reservation facility in Mangla and Geetanjali Express is not available at Nasik station. The people have to go to Mumbai or Bhusawal for getting reservation in these trains. The reservation facility should be provided at Nasik. Kumbh Mela is going to be held at Nasik in 2003. About 50 lakh pilgrims are expected to come there. Therefore, I demand that Nasik station should be modernised and three more platforms should be made there. A bridge should be constructed on Aurangabad Road.
SHRI PRIYA RANJAN DASMUNSI: I would like to highlight only a few aspects and offer my suggestions. First of all, I profoundly thank the Railway Minister who has done a great job by doubling the allocation of fund for improving the performance of sportsmen who are under the umbrella of Railways. The shortfall of the receipts is Rs.1, 649 crore. This shortfall could have been avoided if the Ministry of Railways could have taken specific care about freight management, freight movement and freight operation in time. We have got to make the entire Freight Department of the Railways commercially viable, market-economy oriented, competitive in order to attract more freight for the Railways. I am proud of Indian Railways. Cutting across party lines, if any single link in the country is the lifeline of our Indian civilization, secular ideals, national unity, it is the Indian Railways. I should applaud the role played by IRCON abroad. I am glad that like the previous Railway Minister, this Railway Minister also considered Railways as a great public utility service, and not merely a profit-making unit. The Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation have been established for upgrading and preserving passenger amenities. The famous BNR hotel of Puri is now in a shabby condition. It needs improvement. I also suggest to the Railways Minister another thing regarding resource generation, that is, commercial utilization of the surplus railway land. Can you not plan something on huge open land on both the sides according to the demand of the market? Allow the mandis of the nearby areas to approach that land, you will get definite regular revenue. During the year 2000-2001 and IRCON International Limited had a turnover of Rs.811 crore and earned a net profit of Rs.66 crore make it more profit making and more challenging. There is a need to professionalise the whole system. I congratulate the Minister for having obtained the Cabinet clearance of my projects of Katihar to Radikapur. In the last Budget, the Railway Minister promised to give Gajol-Itahar connection on the Ekalakhi project. It has been done. I demand for modernization of Malda Railway Hospital.
Now let me come to the Railways recruitment. The Government should divide the Recruitment Centre in each State Headquarters and only invite those boys who are required at that stage to avoid future fight and clash. Railway contracts have become a racket. A few mafia dons are controlling the railway contracts. I would request to the Minister give preference to the unemployed youths certified by the district collectors. Minister of Railways should open as many passenger reservation centers as possible. I would request for a stoppage of the New Delhi Guwahati Rajdhani Express at Barsoi.
SHRI P.S. GADHAVI : Our important places of pilgrimage and heritage centers should be given more boosting. My only request to the Railway Minister is that gauge conversion work on Samkhiyala Palanpur and Wankaner Morve line work may be expedited. My request is that since Kutch is already getting connected with Saurashtra, Kutch should be kept in Rajkot division, which is much nearer. If this is done the people will be benefited. The Dhrangadhra-Kuda line is a very important line for the salt producers. Therefore, I would urge upon the hon. Minister to kindly expedite the project of gauge conversion of Dhrangadhra-Kuda line. Under the passenger amenities, the hon. Minister has introduced 16 Jan Shatabdi express trains, which is a very much welcome step. I congratulate the Railway Minister for introduction of Jan Shatabdi from Bhuj to Ahmedabad and certain trains from my constituency. I would like to make one suggestion about this Hajrat Allah Express, which runs between Bhuj and Bareilly. Its frequency should be increased from two days a week to five days a week. In this Budget, the railway freight on salt has been increased. I demand that the freight increase on the salt may be withdrawn. Gujarat Queen should be extended up to Umbergaon or Vapi. Another train Vodora-Valsad Inter-city may also kindly be extended. Amenities and facilities are increased at the Bhuj Railway Station and Gandham.
SHRI HARIBHAI CHAUDHARY : I support the Railway Budget 2002-2003. My submission are to reduce the freight on salt transport, to reintroduce train services on broad gauge line as per the timing of meter gauge, to introduce a new intercity service on the Palanpur-Ahmedabad-Palanpur route, to re-introduce train services of train No.9903/9904 on meter gauge as per its old timings, to extend the Valsad-Ahmedabad Passenger Train Nos. 39/40 and 49/50 upto Palanpur/Abu Road, to speed up Broad gauge conversion between Palanpur and Samkhiali, to join one bogee in 9708/9707 for pass holders, to give facilities to Santapur Salt manufacturers, to give rack facility at Palanpur Railway Station for fertilisers, to increase reservation quota at Deesa and Radhapur for Mumbai and Delhi, to give stoppage for Rajdhani Express Palanpur 2957/2958, to give VIP quota in Ashra Express and Aravalli Express at Palanpur, to provide the stoppage at Palanpur of Okha Dehradun Express, to introduce new train between Jammu Tawi to Mumbai via Palanpur, to increase the cover shed of platform 1 and 2 of Palanpur Railway Station, to speed up the work of Bhiladi-Viramgam broad gauge work and for pilgrimage of Ambaji Temple introduction of new train from Mumbai to Amhedabad. Ajmer, Mumbai running three times in week, need to regularise it for a week. Reduce freight hike on salt charge. 135% is very much and help salt manufacturers of Gujarat.
SHRI A.P. JITHENDER REDDY: At the outset, I compliment the Railway Minister for presenting a bold balanced budget.
The major portion of the resource mobilization would come from monthly season ticket fares which remained highly subsidesed for a pretty long time and had not been revised for ages. I would like to draw the kind attention of the Railway Minister to the two new lines construction projects viz. Munirabad-Mehbubnagar (246 km.) and Gadwal-Raichur (60 km.) in my constituency. Against the anticipated cost of Rs. 420.12 and Rs. 108.91 crores respectively the allocation of Rs. 10 and Rs. 1 crore respectively for the year 2002-2003. I would strongly emphasise speedier completion of the two projects which would go a long way in helping the poor farmers of my area.
SHRI P. KUMARASAMY: There are many appreciable aspects of this Budget. First is regarding acquisition of railway items and second relates to track renewal in 4000 kilometers, gauge conversion in 547 kilometers, electrification in 375 kilometers and doubling of lines in 214 kilometers. I also welcome the announcement made by the Railway Minister about supplying free food to the children, below five years, traveling in the Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains. I would like to request the hon. Minister to make Nizumuddin Kanyakumari express at least thrice a week. The hike in rail fares, particularly in the sleeper classes, will affect the common man. The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has also requested for a roll back. I would also like to request the hon. Minister to consider the Dindigul- Sabrimala route. The BG conversion process is generally very slow. I would like to request the hon. Minister to expedite it. For 10 ongoing gauge-conversion projects in Tamil Nadu, only Rs.77.1 crore has been allotted this year. Whereas an allocation of Rs.1531.29 crore is required for these projects. As a result of privatization parcel vans in GT Express and Tamil Nadu Express trains have been given to private agencies. I am told that the passengers are being charged more and are being cheated. I request the hon. Minister to inquire into this.
SHRI MANJAY LAL : First of all, I would like to thank hon. Railway Minister who has presented the Railway Budget with due consideration. He has tried to present a balanced budget, yet it is incomplete in some aspects. Freight on salt has been increased which should be rolled back. I would like that the Hazipur zonal office should be completed expeditiously. Foundation stone for a bridge on river Ganga at Patna has been laid several times. But, the work did not start. This time the work on this bridge has been started. It should be completed as soon as possible. It would facilitate to and fro journey from North to South Bihar. Long awaited Sitamarhi-Muzaffarpur railway line should be completed expeditiously. There are Pusa road and Dola railway stations in Muzaffarpur and Samastipur in Bihar. These station should be computerised. Pusa road station should be upgraded to a model railway station and it should be named after Khudi Ram. I demand that Kaptanganj-Thave-Gopalganj-Mathrak-Chhapra railway line should be completed.
SHRI ADHI SANKAR: In 3 assembly segments of my constituency namely Rashivanthiyam, Sankarapuram and Ulundurpet, there is no train facility. I request the Minister to form a new rail line from Villupuram to Salem through Tourkolur Thayagadurgam, Sankara Puram, kallakurichi and to Salem. I request the Minister to speed up the construction of RoB at Cuddalore.
SHRI RAJO SINGH: I request the hon. Railway Minister to act towards electrification of Gaya-Kiuel section. In addition I shall request him also to initiate track-laying work in the Daniawan, Bihar Sharif, Ashthawan-Varbigha, Sekhpura section at the earliest.
SHRI D. VENUGOPAL : Railways, that serve the masses meeting both transport and freight movement requirements, have been successfully functioning in India for the past 150 years. Indian Railways which started its journey on a 32 km railway route has increased its total length of railway lines by about 2000 times and it touches about 62,000 kms. From 6.5 to 47.5 crore the number of rail passengers have also increased manifold. Decentralisation and delegation of more powers to the Railway regions are a welcome move. It is felt that the demands of the people of the South are not heeded to.
Katpadi-Villupuram gauge conversion work has not yet been taken up. My consistent demand to link Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka with Thiruvennamalai, the capital town of spiritualism, is still under consideration. I urge upon the Minister to provide a warehouse in Jolarpet junction with modern storage facility. On behalf of the people of my constituency, I thank the Railway Minister for commencing a computerised reservation centre at Ambur Railway Station. Nellai Express may be reintroduced to run between Chennai Central and Nagarcoil via Katpadi and Jolarpet. Yelagiri Express, Thiruvananthapuram Mail, Allappuzha Express, Cochin Express, Nilagiri Express passing through Ambur and Vaniyampadi must have stoppages there. A manned railway level crossing at Ananthal would greatly benefit the local villagers. Daily wagers who render service to the Railways for years have not been regularised. Those who have appeared and passed the Grade IV selection test have not been appointed as yet. I urge upon the Railway Minister to construct a rail over bridge at Jolarpet junction. Chennai-Thiruvannamalai, Pondicherry-Thiruvannamalai special trains must be operated. Annual Karthikai Deepam and monthly Girivalam and the increased trade and traffic would make the rail links a profitable operation. Thiruvannamalai too may be given computerised reservation centre.
SHRI G. PUTTA SWAMY GOWDA: I would like to bring it to the notice of the hon. Railway Minister that in Part-I of Demands for Grants under the Head works, Karnataka has been divided under two zones i.e. Southern Railway and South Central Railway. I do not understand the logic. Hon. Minister may be aware of construction of the cable bridge in K.R. Puram, Banglore. Even after 7 years it could not be completed. I request the hon. Minister to complete the bridge in a time bound programme. I would request the Minister to announce an action plan to implement circular Railway in Banglore.
SHRI RAMJIVAN SINGH: I support the Railway Budget. The hon. Railway Minister should be felicitated for taking the railways on the path of development despite the limited available resource. He has brought about the reforms in the Railways by infusing the discipline and work culture.
My parliament constituency is predominantly a rural area. The main cash crop of the area is sugarcane. If a rail line from Barauni is extended upto Barauni junction it would facilitate the transportation of the sugarcane of the farmers. It would open up a path from Hasanpur- Mokama via Barauni. The workers working in factories would be greatly benefited by this rail line. The distance between Hasanpur and Barauni is merely 42 kilometer. This demand should be considered on priority basis as a measure for the public welfare. A halt need to be provided at village Nawada under Barauni rail section between Bachhawara-Terara stations. A halt at Fateha village need to be provided for the convenience of the public. Another halt at Mauji village under Samastipur Khagaria rail section should also be provided. Gadhpura at Samastipur-Khagaria rail section should be accorded the status of full-fledged railway station. There are two major railway stations i.e. Lakhminia and Salauna where all express trains should be provided with halts. The Barauni Flag village should be renamed as Barauni Gram. There is a small bridge at Sadha Jagat on a meter gauge line under Samastipur-Bachhwara rail section. A road should be constructed there. There is a Umesh Nagar station between Khagria-Sahebpur stations where an over-bridge need to be constructed. The hon. Railway Minister has done a remarkable job for the benefit of the people of Bihar by running Sampurna Kranti Train between Patna and Delhi. It would greatly benefit the people of North Bihar if this train is extended upto Barauni junction. This demand should be sympathetically pondered over.
SHRI MADHAB RAJBANGSHI : I am sorry to say that the Ministry of Railways has adopted neglecting attitude since Independence so far as execution of Railway works are concerned in Assam. Ministry of Railways has neglected the interest of North East Region. It is a gross injustice to North East Region. Several old projects are lying un-completed since long due non-availability of funds. Honble Minister is supposed to give more thrust and importance to the old project lying pending since long. Rangia Division works were started in 1995, but it is a matter of great surprise that till date only 1.20 lacs were sanctioned against this Division, which resulted abnormal delay in completion of the works. So hon. Minister is requested to sanction the total amount of the Budget Estimate of Rangia Division in the current financial year 2002-2003. I raised the issue of Rangia Mokokseleng gauge conversion last year. I would like to remind the hon. Minister for Railways to see the matter seriously. I raised the issue of starting New Railway Line as proposed by late Shri Patwari from Baihati to Rauta via Kharupetia. I again request the hon. Minister of Railways to kindly look into the matter. The Member of Parliament from Assam State have demanded to establish a Railway Coach Factory at Assam which would provide employment to several thousands of skilled and unskilled manpower. Nalbari-Rangia-Bihata-Sangsari-Khoirabari-Tangla-Harsingha-Udalguri-Rowta-Mazbat are important Railways stations but no basic amenities are existing at all at these stations. I may request the Hon. Minister of Railways to look into the matter expeditiously. I also wrote a letter to the Hon. Minister of Railways to construct a foot over bridge at Dhansiri River by the side of Railway Bridge to facilitate the Public to cross the river. I may request the hon. Minister to kindly consider the proposal and the initial expenditure should be incurred by the Ministry of Railways.
SHRIMATI HEMA GAMANG : The average rail network expansion in Orissa is 14.04 kilometer per one thousand square kilometer in comparison to the average national rail network of 19 kilometer per one thousand square kilometer. However, Orissa contribute a major share of 30 per cent in the total railway revenue earned by South Eastern Railways. My first and foremost demand is that the railway headquarters of East coast railway should be established at Bhubneshwar at the earliest. All railway stations, platforms should be uplifted and modernized and the reservation centres should be renovated in Orissa. All facilities should be provided for the railway passengers. Rail over bridges and railway crossing should be built wherever they are required in the State. While the rail section between Kharagpur and Bhubneshwar should be electrified, the electrification of all other sections in Orissa be carried out at the earliest. The hon. Railway Minister has been kind enough to allocate Rs. 10 crore for the gauge conversion of Naupara-Gunupur rail line. I request to enhance this amount to 25 crore. In addition to it the sanctioned railway projects, new rail links need to be provided between Talcher-Gopalpur, Talcher-Vimalgarh, and Jaipur-Malkangiri. The tribal areas of Langigarh-Ambaguda and Langigarh Junagarh need to be provided with railway facilities. Bolangeer-Khurda need to be linked to eastern Orissa. The Hirakund Express from Nizamuddin to Bhubneshwar should be extended upto Raigada, Koraput. The Falaknam Express from Hyderabad to Kolkata/Howrah should be run via Raigada. The Rajdhani Express between New Delhi and Bhubneshwar running twice a week should be run daily or atleast five days a week. Samta Express from Nizamuddin to Raigada running trice a week should be run daily. A New train should be started from New Delhi to Raigada via Allahabad and Varanasi.
SHRI SUNIL KHAN: This is the first Railways Budget, which does not have any new project. For the last two years the progress of Railway projects has stopped. In the month of December 2001, the Government have imposed Safety Cess. It was done without a discussion in Parliament. Now, it has become a permanent feature. Due to increase in freight charges on urea and crop, the poor farmers will suffer. Due to increase in freight charges of gas and palmolein, lower middle class and middle class will suffer. Due to increase in the freight charges on iron and coal, steel industry will face a dangerous situation. So, I would request the hon. Minister to roll back this increase.
The Railway hawkers should be provided with licence. These unorganized workers, who do the railway line construction and repairing work, would be around more than ten lakhs all over the country. But they are not recognized as railway workmen. The Railway authorities do not provide them even medical facilities or free passes to travel for reaching their work place.
What about the pending survey of Kumarghat to Agartala line? What about the Jammu to Kashmir project? What about the long pending demands of West Bengal? You have allocated only Rs.137 crore to the pending projects whereas the requirement is Rs.1733 crore. What about the Digha-Tamluk project? The Government have allocated only Rs.25 crore to BDR. If they want to complete the Bankura-Damodar River railway project within 2004, you have to allocate more. After the completion of this route, this route should be extended from Beliatore to Durgapur which is only 20 km. I would like to mention regarding the train Annanya which has started from Bankura to Solimar and extended up to Adra but it is difficult for the passengers to get down at Solimar because of non-availability of transport in time. So, I would request to divert the train to Howrah. I want to remind the Government regarding Sealdah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express. It should be run on Sunday from Sealdah I would request the Government to change the times of the Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express which runs on Sundays. I would request the Government to reschedule the timings. Instead of starting at 1.30 p.m. it should be at 5 p.m. Due to heavy rush in the coal-field, when the Mayurakshi Express comes to Durgapur, students, specially girls, who are going to the university to study, the industrialists, the businessmen and senior citizens cannot board the train to go to Kolkata. So, I would request the Government to kindly introduce one fast passenger train from Durgapur to Howrah.
SHRI BHARTRUHARI MAHTAB : The Railway Minister has not hesitated to take some hard measures. Among the most discussed is the passenger fares. The hike appears substantial. The Railway Minister has declared 2002-2003 as the Passenger Amenity Year. How far that slogan changes the situation on the ground remains to be seen. Railway Minister has tried to strike a regional balance and attempted equitable distribution of railway projects. The increase in freight charges is relatively modest. The Railway is to introduce a new inter-city service called Jan Shatabdi Express. Sixteen such trains are to be introduced this year. It is a welcome step. A pilot project for the computer-based unreserved ticketing system is also being taken up. Twenty-five additional express trains and seven new passenger trains are to be introduced.
I would like to draw the attention of the hon. Railway Minister to the problem of commuters between Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. I would request the Railway Minister to consider the suburban transportation system between Cuttack and Bhubaneswar initially which can be extended to Choudwar and Khurdha on both sides respectively. There is also a greater need to open a new entrance into Cuttack Railway Station from the eastern side. Apart from the neglect of the States genuine interests, another facet of railway development in the State is lack of timely spending of funds. I would be doubly happy if Minister of Railways assures the House that henceforth, the money allotted in the Budget would be spent, truthfully in the stipulated period.
SHRI SHIVAJI VITHALRAO KAMBLE : In 1972, the then Prime Minister, Smt. Indira Gandhi had announced gauge conversion of four lines. Out of that Bani-Chanaka and Desaiganj, Nagpur has been converted but other two are yet to be completed. Latur-Miraj gauge conversion was announced in 1972 but it has not been completed. I request you to do justice with the masses of my constituency by providing rupees 100 crore towards gauge conversion of Latur-Miraj. In my constituency, the work on Railway station in Osmanabad has been completed six years back. But railway line has not been provided there. Perhaps this is the only railway station in the country having no rail line. Stoppage of K.K. Express train should be provided at Kunduwari(Jn.). Stoppage of Solepur-Sidheswar Express be provided at Parewadi station.
SHRI C. KUPPUSAMI : I welcome the Railway Budget as there is only marginal increase in fares and freight rates. I welcome introduction of new trains, particularly Chennai-Vijayawada inter-city train. I request you to introduce a new fast train between Egmore and Tirunelveli. The Government should pay more attention to passenger safety and amenities. I will give some suggestions for revenue raising for Railways. The railway land on which the small traders are running their business may be leased out to them on short-term basis since the land is not going to be used by Railways in the near future. The Golden Quadrilateral connecting the four metropolitan cities are the two diagonals are saturated in terms of line capacity. There is a need to create additional capacity by gauge conversion, doubling or laying multiple lines, new alignments, upgrading of signalling, developing alternative railway terminals/station facilities.
Since there is no separate corridor for suburban and other service on Pattabhiram-Trivellore section, the utilisation of third line has been poor. This will be possible only after building of platforms on the third line. I would also request the hon. Railway Minister that Trivellore being district headquarters, Express trains should stop at Trivellore Station also. Tamil Nadu is still one of the States where rail route kms. which are required to be converted into Broad Gauge are more. I would therefore, request the hon. Minister to pay more attention to Tamil Nadu. Additional line capacity is required on Pattabiram-Arakkonam section as there is intense demand for running trains up to Arakkonam, instead of terminating at Avadi. At the busy junction of railway crossing at Villivakkam, there is a long standing demand for Rail overbridge which pay please be included in this years Budget. I would also request the hon. Railway Minister to sanction the pending project of Rail overbridge near Stanley Hospital at Mint, Chennai. There was a proposal to connect Chennai Central which is the railhead for all North- bound trains with Egmore station which is the railhead for most of the South-bound trains. I request the hon. Railway Minister to take the initiative and make some beginning in this direction. Passenger amenities at Perungalathur Station need improvement.
In the name of liberalisation, ICF, Perambur is starved of orders by the Railways. Therefore, the hon. Minister should direct the Railway authorities to give orders for the ICF so that the skilled workers and others who are working in ICF are given work and the factory is run on sound economic basis. Security, Safety and punctuality used to be the watch words of the Railways. Unless they modernise the signalling and communication system, safety of rail travel cannot be ensured. I would urge upon the hon. Railway Minister to redress the grievance of railway workers who are agitating for their demands from time to time. Similarly, in the Catering service also, hon. Minister should ensure that there is no retrenchment of workers, just because they want to privatise railway catering service. I request the hon. Minister to permit the Members of Parliament to issue Low Income Value Pass for the poor vendors as earlier.
SHRI CHINTAMAN WANAGA : Delhi is the capital of India but it is said that the financial capital of our country is in Mumbai. The contribution of my constituency in the development of Mumbai as well as of this country cannot be forgotten. Inspite of the fact that Mumbai being nearest to my constituency, the development in my constituency have not taken place the way it should have been, which is really unfortunate. It is therefore, necessary to complete Etan Road-Nasik railway line at the earliest so that the gate of development could be thrown open. I also request for early commencement of suburban trains on Utnar Road-Virar section. I further request to start suburban trains on Vasai-Dina railway line.
Bhiwandi is an important station on Vasai-Virar rail line. It is also called the Manchester of India. I, therefore, request the hon. Minister to convert this station in a grade one station. I also request you to kindly provide stoppage of certain new trains on Utan station.
DR. N. VENKATASWAMY: I commend this progressive Railway Budget marked with scientific and transparent method of allocation of funds basing on three components. All the previous Railway Ministers used to give the benefit to their State at times to the disadvantage of other States. That will change now through this system which enables every State to have its proportionate share according to the population, area and other things. Another good feature of the budget is setting up of a Special Railway Safety Fund to arrest the railway accidents. Delegation of financial powers to regions and zones is also a very good feature. if the powers are delegated to regions, work would be done at a faster pace. Moreover, out of 60, only four items are delegated to the zones. There must be some mechanism to effectively supervise the implementation of these projects at the zonal level. Introduction high speed refrigerated parcel vans to move perishable goods like fruits, vegetables across the country will help the farmers to get better prices for their produce. Indian Railways is the pride and the life line of the nation. It promotes national integration as well as industrial development.
Rayalaseema, the reknowned rice producing region and the seat of the richest God Lord Venketeshwara having rich mineral deposits like lime, pyrites, granites besides rich water and forest resources, is still a very backward area. For this region long back as 1980 laying of Tirupati-Katpadi line was thought . It was started in 1992 but it it yet to be completed. Budget allocation for the same have been diverted. Tirupati-Katpadi project, which is a very important project should be completed without any further delay. An amount of Rs. 15 crore has been allocated for this project whereas Rs. 63 crore is still awaited for completing it. The Railway Minister is requested to see that this decade-old gauge conversion on Tirupati-Katpadi line be completed at the end of this year If Dharmavaram Pakala line is converted to broad gauge, it will not only connect Rayalseema with Karnataka, but it will also connect vegetable producing district of Andhra and Andhra farmers willl transport their vegetables to Karnataka. The doubling of Guntakkal-Renigunta line which is very important between Guntakkal and Chennaiwas, started in 1994, but it has not yet been completed. Besides housing rich mineral ore deposits and a cement factory near Yerranguntla producing abouting 10 per cent of our total cement production. Gudur Renigunta gauge doubling project will provide facility to reach Tirupati without stranding at Gudur. The Government is requested to complete this project. I propose new railway lines to develop Rayalseema region f Andhra Pradehs. The first between Anantapur and Yerraguntla will connect Mumbai-chennai line. The second, will reduce the distance between Mumbai and Chennai by 100 kms.
The new railway line which I am proposing will connect four backward districts, namely Nalgonda, Nellore, Cuddapah and Chittoor. Tirupati West Station should be converted as a Railway yard so that after the passengers get down, the trains can go directly to Tirupati West Station. It will reduce the congestion at tirupati Railway Station. The entire building and machinery are lying idle in coach repairing shop. it is a colossal national waste. I think, the hon. Minister would see that the CSR is improved. An EMU train is running from Chennai to Tirutani may please be extended to Tirupati. Another EMU train from Chennai to Sullurpet should be extended to Nellore. There is a Locomotive Workshop at Bitragunta which has got 1,300 acres of land that is now lying waste. Its eight hundred and sixty buildings are lying waste. The infrastructure is available there. The shops are there. If this is converted into a Railway Division, it would help the people of Rayalaseema.
I would request the hon. Minister to see that Tirupati-Katpadi gauge conversion is done before December. The hon. Minister has already announced an amount of Rs. 65 crore about two months back for this purpose. I also want that a double line should also provided for the Dharmavaram-Pakala-Dudur section. The doubling of railway line is also required from Rengunta to Chennai. A new railway line is required between Nadikudi-kalahasti and Anantapur-Yerraguntla. A survey was made. But somehow it was shelved. That requires to be considered again. Modernisation of Bitragunta railway station is required. The EMU trains require to be extended from Tiruchanur to Tirupati and from Chennai to Sullurpet.
SHRI JOACHIM BAXLA : I would like to request the hon. Minister to undertake the gauge-conversion between New Jalpaiguri and New Bongaigaon via Alipurduar Jn. and should be completed within the stipulated time i.e. 2003. The train which you have decided to extend may kindly be extended upto New Alipurduar. Accommodation in Darjeeling Mail should also be increased from half to full, coach.
I would also sumbit the hon. Minister to open a recruitment centre at Alipurdwar Jn. and stop mafia raj. A train between Hatia and Guwahati be also be introduced and also increase the reservation quota in all trains passing through new Alipurduar junction. I also request the hon. Minister to enhance the fund meant for new railway line between New Moynaguri & Jogighopa. I further, request him to extend North Bengal Express upto Jorai station and also restore railway services from Rajbhatkana to Jainti in order to promote tourism.
SHRI SATYAVRAT CHATURVEDI: The Budget 2002-03 proposes annual projects worth Rs. 10, 857 crore approximately. for laying about 214 km new railway lines. The commendable aspect of this budget is that special emphasis has been given on the security and safety of rails and rail passengers. Our expectations that this budget would be instrumental in expanding rail facilities has not been realised fully. During previous regimes there was a practice of allocating 75% budget assistants which gradually has come down to 20-23 % at present. A good feature of the budget is that it has not been politicised and some basic standards have been adopted in it to execute the work of creating resources and developing resources in a just manner. In it freight rates have been tried to be rationalised and on this account an additional income of about Rs. 450 crores is the proposed target. With this increased freight rate a revenue of about Rs. 910 crore would be generated and a total additional income of Rs. 1360 crore is estimated. This increased standard wagon freight would increase inflation and items of public consumption such as foodgrains, pulse and groundnut oil would increase. On the other hand 1.43 % reduction have been made on industrial goods traffic. But the benefit of this reduction will reach the manufacturer only because they themselves decided prices.
The most deplorable aspect of the budget is that freight rates of an essential commodity, salt have been increased. Now one quintal salt will reach Jhansi from Gandhidham at Rs. 631.89 whereas at present this amount is Rs. 288.30. It is a sort of atrocity on common man. A provision of Rs. 911 crore has been made for laying new rail lines but it is not adequate to achieve the target. Three-four years ago Lalitpur Singroli lines foundation was laid. The people of Bundelkhand would feel oblige if this line is completed early. Taj Express which plies between Delhi Bundelkhand was initially developed as a tourist train and used to reach Agra, now runs upto Gwalior. It reaches Gwalior at 11 A.M. and halts there till 5.30 P.M. It should be plied upto Harpalpur. Some arrangements should be made for cleaning and maintenance of trains at Harpalpur. It would not cost much. One Shatabadi Express runs from Delhi-Bhopal. It reaches Bhopal at 2.00 P.M. and starts back journey at 2.40 . How maintenance of train is possible within 40 minutes. Proper maintenance arrangements should be made.
Tulsi Express is the only train which links Bundelkhand region with Bhopal, runs only two days a week. It should be run four days a week and a stoppage should be given at Harpalpur. There is no reservation facility from Harpalpur and Jabalpur for Banaras and Howrah in Mahakaushal Express, Bundelll Khand Express and chambal Express. Please provide this reservation facility there in the interests of various section of the society. I want a clear cut assurance that Lalitpur-Singrauli- Khujraho line would be sanctioned and its construction would be started soon.
SHRI THAWAR CHAND GEHLOT : The survey work for laying of new rail line between Ujjain Agar and Susner Soyat via Jhalwada has already been completed in the interest of my constituency ,country and Railways.I request the Hon Minister to kindly sanction the fund for the above mentioned project at the earliest.I am thankful to the Minister for completing the Maksi Devas new rail line this year and submit him for early introduction of a passenger train between Indore and Guna. Similarly, I request him for early approval of doubling and electrification of Indore-Ujjain rail line at the earliest. I do believe that the hon. Minister will pay attention towards my demands.
SHRI RAMPAL SINGH : The day I entered in this august House, I am doing my best to press for the gauge conversion of Gorakhpur-Gonda loop line. Recently, we have come to know that all the necessary requirements for this project has been completed and I believe that the work on this line will soon start, thus paving the way for the development of that region. I am indeed very thankful for the hon. Prime Minister and hon. Railway Minister for this. Similarly, I request the hon. Minister to extend the railing of Uska Bazar railway bridge in order to facilitate pedestrians and cycle-goers. Apart from this, I also request the hon. Minister to introduce a train from Gorakhpur to Lucknow in the morning so that it reaches Lucknow by 10 o'clock in the morning and in return this train should depart Lucknow by 4 o'clock in the evening so that it reaches Gorakhpur by 9 o'clock in the night.
SHRI DAHYABHAI VALLABHBHAI PATEL : The Minister of Railways has presented a professional Budget. No new train has been introduced on Ahmedabad-Mumbai route in Western Railways. Besides, no mention has been made about proper management of existing trains. I would like to draw the attention towards Bapi station in South Gujarat. Many express trains do not stop there. Bapi is surrounded by four Parliamentary constituencies, therefore, to give benefit to the people of four parliamentary constituencies all Express Trains should be stopped at this station. All up and down trains should be stopped on this route. The facility of terminal and other facilities are not available at this station. The facilities should be provided there in view of super A grade status of this station. About Rs.2078.05 lakhs are earned annually at this station. Delhi Mumbai Rajdhani Express should be stopped at Bapi Station. The passengers on this route would be benefited by this stoppage and Railways can earn more revenue. In 1997, the then Railway Minister, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan gave an assurance that Gujarat Queen and Inter-city Express would be extended up to Bapi but this assurance has not been implemented so far. It should be implemented at the earliest.
SHRI RAM SINGH KASWAN : In view of the present situation in the country, the Railway Budget 2002-2003 is a balance Budget. The Minister has tried to make financial schemes of the Ministry professional and balanced. The changes made in fare and freight are very rational. There is nominal increase in passenger fares. The next year is declared as passenger facility year. Four new Express Trains have been introduced in Rajasthan. The frequency of two trains has increased. The Minister has made an announcement for gauge conversion of one rail line.
I would like to draw attention towards some problems of my Parliamentary constituency. Sufficient amount has not been provided in this Budget for gauge conversion of Rewari-Bikaner, Sadulpur-Hissar, Rattangarh-Degana lines. Rs. Two thousand crore are required for completing pending rail projects of Rajasthan. A survey was conducted to lay new rail lines from Churu to Taranagar, Sardarshehar to Hanumangarh, Sikar to Nokha via Salasar. But no financial provisions have been made for this work in this Budget. A demand has been made since long to extend Loharu-Jaipur passenger trains to Sadulpur, Bikaner-Churu passenger trains to Sadulpur. It is necessary to extend these trains in public interest. There is a problem of railway level crossing in my constituency. Accidents occur every year there for want of railway crossings. The rural people are also facing problems. I request the hon. Minister to construct railway crossings there.
Rattangarh junction in Bikaner division is an important junction. It earns about 60 thousand rupees daily. Sardarshehar is also a big town in this area. I would like to request to open computerised reservation centre at these places. In Delhi-Bikaner mail, reservation quota from Hanumangarh to Delhi is required in the public interest. Jodhpur-Howrah Super Fast should be provided halt at Degana junction and Link Express should be stopped at Rampura-Beri station.
In my home town at Sadulpur junction, nine crew cadres of drivers were working. The goods trains have to remain there for more time because tanning employees have been transferred. The crew from other stations have to come there to run trains. The railways is suffering loss due to this arrangement and the drivers who have been transferred are facing problems. I request the Minister to appoint five drivers on permanent basis at Sadalpur junction.
SHRI RAM TAHAL CHAUDHARY : I support the Railway Budget 2002-2003 presented by the Minister of Railways. This is a rational and balanced budget. I would like to request the hon. Minister to check corruption in Railways. The medical facilities, education and other facilities should be provided to Railway employees. I would like to congratulate the Minister for providing facilities in Ranchi. I would like to request to complete pending projects at the earliest. Rajdhani Express, which runs from Ranchi to Delhi once in a week should run twice a week. A train should be introduced from Hatia to Mumbai via Rourkela which would be beneficial for people of Ranchi and Jharkhand. Ranchi-Tata Pink city train should be introduced at the earliest. A railway over-bridge on Ranchi Belari Road should be constructed. Ludhiana-Dhanbad train should be extended upto Ranchi. A Railway Recruitment Board should be set up at Ranchi for backward and general categories so that poor people of Jharkhand region can get an opportunity to serve in Railways. The building of DRM office should be constructed immediately. Tata passenger train must be stopped at Bakarpuri station for two minutes. The Railway employees working at Moori Station should be provided basic amenities like water, electricity, schools and quarters. The work of beautification and expansion of Moori station should be undertaken at the earliest.
SHRI PRABHUNATH SINGH : Sanction may be accorded for the construction of a railway level crossing on Daraidha-Maharajganj railway line near village Jalalpur and construction thereof may be started without delay. Daraida-Maharajganj railway line may be extended up to Mabhrak. Small kiosks may be constructed on the railway land adjacent to Mabhrak railway station so that on the one hand, the railways can earn a revenue, on the other employment opportunities will be thrown open for the unemployed youth.
SHRI SHRINIWAS PATIL : In Maharashtra, there are only two rail corridors connecting the low lying Konkan and the high altitude plains of Western Maharashtra namely Nashik Mumbai via Kasara Ghat and Pune Mumbai via Khandala Ghat. There is an utmost need to create a third corridor namely Karad Chiplun or Kolhapur Ratnagiri. There is much need for laying of double track on Pune Miraj section of South Central Railway. Ours being sugarcane producing area, partially manned gates are a major problem in transportation of sugarcane from the field to the factory because these gates are kept closed during the night time. There is need for manning of gates for 24 hours. There is need to start computerised city reservation office at Karad and Satara. Ahmedabad-Pune Ahinsa Express should be extended up to Kolhapur on South Central Railway. Kolkata-Pune Azad-Hind Express should be extended up to Kolhapur on South Central Railway. A new Superfast train from Pune to Panjim should be started and it should run during day time. Kolhapur-Ghorpadi passenger train should be extended up to Pune railway station.
SHRI PRABHAT SAMANTRAY : This Railway Budget has changed the track for a better railway management in a country whereas in the last 52 years our route kilometre achievement has been very insignificant. Let this project, should speak for Government. Before thanking the Railway Minister I would like to draw his attention to the formula which he has advocated in his Budget Speech for allocation of funds. Allocation of funds for the railways in different States, based on the population, totally drags away the States. State like Kerala which has a well controlled population, will be the worst sufferers under the criteria. The hon. Railway Minister should consider the formula as to whether the revenue generated from the State through freight and passenger traffic or the route kilometres available in that particular State should have been the criteria, in place of the population criteria for allotment of funds. Keeping in mind the fact that in 2000 population will be increasing by more than 20 crore in two years a suitable proposal should have been made. We inherited 53,000 route kilometres from the britishers and we have only added, by 2000, 63000 route kilometres. The route kilometres achievement is very negligible. the State of Orissa got only 2,309 route kilometres out of which it inherited from the Britishers 1,400 kilometres and our route kilometres in is the ratio of 14.4, whereas the national ratio is 19. In my neighbouring States Bihar and West Bengal, the route kilometre ratio is 30 and 43.1 respectively.
Orissa, having 2,300 route kilometres is part of South Eastern Railway which is a revenue, generating zone of the Indian Railway system. It always exceeding the revenue targets in Orissa falls in this zone. Thirty per cent of that revenue is contributed from Orissa alone. But even then budgetary allocation to Orissa during the last three years has been very small. Besides, important projects have been allocated lesser funds. I request Minister of Railways to kindly consider the proposals for introducing new trains and extending existing routes of some trains. At present Hirakud Express plies on Hazarat Nizamuddin Sambalpur route three days a week. I urge upon the Railway Minister to consider extending this train to Raigada and thereby cater needs of Southern Orissa which is mineral wise as well as industry wise very important area.
Railway should extend the route of Vishakapatnam Bengalore shanti Express upto Bhuvaneswar. This train idly halts at Vishakapatnam for 12 hours and by extending it to Bhubaneswar there will be sufficient for wahsing of trains. Funds allocated to Orissa region last year has been re-appropriated with the excuse of non-implementation of projects. Why budgetary allocation made to Orissa region could not be spent. As for Indian Railway Tourism and Catering Corporation, the Parliament has provided not only huge funds but created vast infrastructure for public sector undertakings. But due to mismanagement most of them are in an embrassing situation of disinvestment. A similar situation can arise before this corporation after five or ten years. Keeping this in mind and taking clear view of the matter suitable action should be taken in this regard and responsibility should be fixed. If investment is done in any corporation, a written assurance should be there. I am thankful to the Railway Minister for providing Rajdhani Express - on our request- and increasing the frequency of Rajdhani Express. East coast Railway zone for which people of Orissa have been asking for long have been allocated meagre amount of Rs. 4 crore. If project has to be completed more funds should be given for this. The Jagpura-Baspani and Haridaspur-Paradeep lines may also be completed.
SHRI RANEN BARMEN : I oppose the Budget because this is anti-poor. Sleeper class fares and freight for essential items, i.e. salt etc. have been hiked and a number of projects are pending. For example, in my constituency, Balurghat under Dakshin Dinajpur district of West Bengal is still pending and also fund allotted is far short of requirement. I demand that it should be raised, then only this Eklakhi-Balurghat which covers 90 kms could be completed.
SHRI RAMANAND SINGH : It is a balanced and a pragmatic Budget. Regional balance is sought to be maintained in this Budget. Funds have been separately earmarked from the Central Budget for the railway line project from Kashmir to Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramula. There is a provision of running 23 new express trains and 7 passenger trains in this Budget. It also aims at electrification of 375 kms. long railway track. Special emphasis has been laid on railway safety. These are all welcome steps. But a hike in the sleeper class fare will adversely affect the poor and the common people. It should be reduced to the extent possible. Similarly, a hike in the freight charges of essential items like salt will put a burden on the general consumers. In my parliamentary constituency, Satna, the construction work of an overbridge at Mehar station is pending for the last 6-7 years. It should be completed without delay. Likewise, the construction work of the third platform at Satna railway station should be taken up soon and a booking office opened on its western side so as to felicitate the passengers travel. A two minute stoppage should be provided for Mahakaushal Express each at Majgaon and Uchehara in district Satna. Budget provisions should be enhanced for completion of Lalitpur-Khajuraho-Satna-Singrauli railway line in 10 years. The Mahakaushal Express which comes from Jabalpur to New Delhi at 11 a.m. should arrive at the station around 8-9 a.m.
SHRI SOHAN POTAI : Railway is the lifeline of this country which plays an important role in the economic and social development of the society. I request to the hon. Minister of Railways for undertaking the proposed Dallirajhara to Ravghat rail line in Bastar division of Chhatisgarh at the earliest. This will not only pave the way for the development of Bastar district but also tackle the problem of unemployment as well as bring green revolution in Dallirajhara areas. I welcome the approval of Durg-Jaipur rail services but I request the hon. Minister to extend this service from Bilaspur zonal headquarters and Highcourt headquarters to Jodhpur. Similarly, Bhubneshwar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express frequency be increased to four days from two days in a week. The meter gauge rail line from Raipur to Dhamtari be converted into broad gauge and also extend upto Dallirajhara. I also request to extend the frequency of Samta Express from three days to five days in a week.
SHRI G. GANGA REDDY : I am also happy that after persuation of our beloved Chief Minister, Shri N. Chandrababu Naidu the Government have provided Rs. 40 crore in the Suppllementary Budget and assured the completion of gauge conversion between Mudked-Dharmabad-Janakampet-Bodhan. Now even the South Central Railways G.M. has assured in writing that by the end of April this work would be completed.
I am also thankful to the Railway Minister for announcing an express train from Mumbai to Nizamabad. Our Chief Minister has written for a budget allocation of Rs. 130 crore for gauge conversion. We have been provided only Rs. 30 crore. We need at least Rs. 160 crore for the gauge conversion of Nizamabad-Kamareddy-Bolaram line which is about 160 kilometres. After the completion of this gauge conversion work, trains starting from Secunderabad will help passengers reach Mumbai directly in 13 hours only. I am surprised to find that the budget allocation for the Karimnagar-Nizamabad new line was Rs. 10 crore only. In the year 1999-2000, the budget allocation was Rs. 20 crore. It is quite unjustifiable. This 142 kilometre long new line needs more than Rs. 200 crore. I request a further allocation of Rs. 40 crore be made to complete the land acquisition and earthwork in both the districts of Karimnagar and Nizamabad as it would improve the lot of backward region of Telangana. The Railway may consider giving 50 percent concession to senior citizens in all classes of the train journey.
SHRI NAMDEO HARBAJI DIWATHE : I request the hon. Minister of Railways to construct Vadsa-Gadchiroli new rail line; to convert Nagbhid-Nagpur meter gauge rail line into broad gauge; to construct Rajnandgaon-Gadchiroli new rail line via Kurkhera-Vadsa; to construct Chimur-Chandrapur rail line via Umred and also to construct Ajni-Pawani new rail line via Lakhodar. Similarly, I also request the hon. Minister to construct an overbridge at the Vadsa railway station and also to raise level of the Platform of Gondia railway station. I further request him to extend the Jharsugda-Gondia train upto Nagveed and also to provide the land lying vacant near Vadsa station on lease.
SHRI ABUL HASNAT KHAN : I request the hon. Railway Minister to take necessary steps for completion of the proposed and ongoing projects of West Bengal; electrification and provision of double line from Katwa to New Farakka; provision of computerised reservation facility at Jangipur Road, Kahaigaun, Nathnagar, Sultanganj, Pirpaity stations of Eastern Railway; shifting of Dhnliyan Ganga Station towards National Highway 34. Stoppage of trains at new Farakka Railway station and Malada-Ajimganj passenger train should be extended upto Katwa. New Farakka and Bhagalpur Railway station should be upgraded and categorised as model station. Proposed Howrah-Malda Jan-Shatabdi should start in the early morning from Malda, with stoppages at New Farakka, Jangipur positively. Doubling of rail line from Barharwa to Bhagalpur and Kinl to Kajara should be completed as early as possible. DMU trains from Bhagalpur to Malda and Bhagalpur to Kinl should be introduced. Stoppage of N.E. Express should be given at Nanghachia.
Similarly, I request the hon. Minister to construct a manned railway crossing at Tildanga-NTPC Road, Jaikrishnapur Village between Dhuliyan Ganga & Nimtita Station, Khidirpur village and Popara village.
SHRI VIRENDRA KUMAR : The wishes and aspirations of the people living in Bina, Katani areas of Western Railway have received a setback from this Railway Budget. I, therefore, request the hon. Minister to provide more passenger trains on Bina, Katani rail section. I also request him to run the Bhopal-Rajkot Express via Katani, Bina, Bhopal, Rajkot three days in a week. Likewise, the frequency of Bhopal-Howrah Express should also be increased to four days in a week. The Chhipra Express should run seven days in a week and the Bhopal-Bilaspur Express should be extended upto Durg. Similarly, Kota-Damoh shuttle train should be run as a Jaipur-Jabalpur fast passenger train. Chirimiri-Damoh train should also run upto Chirimiri-Sagar. The Bina-Itarsi Express should be extended upto Nagpur and Jabalpur-Nizamuddin and Gondwana Express train should be run as separate trains.
I also request the hon. Minister to kindly extend the Jhansi-Bina passenger train upto Damoh and also reschedule its timing. Similarly, the route of Raipur-New Delhi Rajdhani Express should be changed and it should run through Bilaspur-Katani-Bina-Jhansi-Delhi. I also request him to provide two minutes stoppage of all the express trains at Makronia railway station. I further request him to provide necessary funds for the completion of an overbridge at Rahatgarh Bus Stand in Sagar and also to provide stoppage of Goa Pushpak Karnataka Express at Bina. I also request him to provide a stoppage for Sadan Express at Mandi Bamora in view of the convenience of rail commuters of Sagar and Vidisha Lok Sabha Constituency. Further, I request him to provide two minutes stoppage of Utkal-Kalinga Express at Ganeshganj(Shahpur) station as before. A railway booking centre should also be opened at Dangi Dahar station after developing it. He should also increase the number of general compartments in all the express trains. I request the hon. Minister to run Janshatabdi Express via Bina-Katani route in three days in a week and also introduce a new shuttle train on Bina-Katani route.
SHRI SANAT KUMAR MANDAL : The hon. Railway Minister has tried to please all but in the process he has disappointed every section. Through his Budget proposals the Railway Minister has tried to put a burden on the ordinary passengers. This years Rail Budget is anti-poor and pro-rich budget. The second class fares are already very high. It should not be increased further. I urge the Minister to withdraw the hike forthwith. In the budget, there is hardly any measures on the passengers and the punctuality of the trains.
I would like to draw the attention of the hon. Railway Minister to the long standing demands of the Railway commuters of the Sealdah South Section Railway. These demands included installation of double lines between Sonarpur and Canning and Baruipur and Lakshmikantapur. Canning Station has been declared as a model Railway Station. This is the gateway to Sundarbans. But there is no amenities for the passengers. Therefore, I urge the Railway Minister to pay his attention towards this problem. There is a lot of land at the Canning Station. The Railway can lease out this land for the commercial purposes and earn revenue. I urge the Railway Minister to allocate funds for the early completion of the Canning-Ghutian Sharif and Baranpur-Kakshin Barasat rail project. I also request him to increase the frequency of Sealdah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express. I hope and believe that the Railway Minister Nitish Kumarji would address these issues during his reply.
SHRI SONTOSH MOHAN DEV : I convey my heartfelt thanks to the hon. Railway Minister. Though we all demand new lines, gauge conversion and other amenities, unless the revenue is increased, it cannot be done. Though the work for converting the line from Lumding to Silchar into broad-gauge line has started there is fund crunch, and it requires Rs.60 crore to Rs.70 crore annually. This is a project worth Rs.1,115 crore. Therefore, I humbly request that this may kindly be considered.
Even after 52 years of Independence, in Assam, not even a single kilometre of line has been electrified. I must convey my thanks to the hon. Minister for starting a train from Guwahati to Jaipur. If you compare the running time of the Guwahati-Rajdhani train with that of the other Rajdhani trains, the running time of this Guwahati Rajdhani could be shortened. Kindly examine this aspect. There has been a request for opening of two railway booking counters at Pasighat in the East Siang district and Teju in the Lohit district. If these counters are opened then people could easily get the tickets and travel comfortably. Barak Valley and the Cachar express trains are not running regularly now. The conditions of the coaches also are very bad. I would like to request the hon. Minister to look into this aspect as well.
People are evicted but railway lines are not laid. If the Railways take eviction measures, then it should be ensured that the purpose for which it evicted the people is also served. So, there should be instructions in this regard. I would like to request the hon. Railway Minister for increasing the quota, at the railway booking counters in the Calcutta airport, for making available tickets to those coming from Silchar and Agartala and are intending to go to Delhi, Mumbai or such other places.
PROF. RASA SINGH RAWAT : I welcome the Rail Budget presented by the hon. Railway Minister. Ajmer is a major pilgrimage centre and it is an important place from the historical, religious and tourist point of view. I request the hon. Railway Minister to link Ajmer with Patna, as large number of people from Bihar visit Ajmer-Pushkar and Dargah of Khawaza Saheb every year. Large number of people from South India reside in Ajmer. There should be adequate railway services for these people to go to and come from their native place. If the train from Arnakulam to Jaipur is extended up to Ajmer, there will be a link from Ajmer to South India. Puja Express runs between Jaipur and Jammu-Tavi. If this train is extended from Jaipur to Ajmer, there would a direct link for Vaishno Devi from Pushkar. We have been demanding stoppage of Super Fast Ashram Express at Beawar and Kishangarh. Since these are the two towns with a population of over one lakh each, provision should be made to give a halt of this train at these two stations. Our other demand is that the work of converting metre gauge line between Ajmer-Chittor and Ujaipur into broad gauge should be expedited. Likewise, the rail line between Bandikui and Agra Fort is an important line. It has yet to be converted into broad gauge.
Our colleagues from Opposition parties complain that the railway fare has been increased. However, the fare of certain classes of long distance trains has been reduced too. Likewise, the freight charges have been rationalised. Besides, measures have been taken to pay special attention towards the railway safety. However, I would like to request the hon. Minister that the recommendations of the Rakesh Mohan Committee to commercialise the railway services should not be implemented. Railway plays crucial role to serve the common man. I would like to felicitate the hon. Minister for making provisions to provide amenities to the passengers despite the limited resources in the Budget. Railways has Loco and Carriage Factory at Ajmer. I would request the hon. Minister to give purchase orders to this factory for its maximum capacity utilisation so that the workers could get enough work for their livelihood. I would request the hon. Minister to lift the ban on the new recruitments in the Railways. There is a stadium there where all India sports events are held. However, for want of money, the stadium is not being maintained properly and developed as desired. Special attention need to be paid towards it. I would request the hon. Minister to make sufficient provisions for the largest State i.e. Rajasthan to find a prominent place on the railway map of the country so that the aspirations of the people of the State could be fulfilled.
SHRI CHANDRA PRATAP SINGH : Shakti Punj Express runs between Howrah and Jabalpur. It will greatly benefit the passengers, if it is extended from Jabalpur upto Bhopal. I demand that Shakti Punj Express should have a halt at Madwas village or at Niwasgram. The track between Bilaspur and Anoopnagar on South-Eastern Railways is in a dilapidated condition. It should be repaired and properly maintained. The reservation quota for Sarnath Express from Chirmiri, Manendragarh and Vishrampur is insufficient. The reservation quota for Allahabad, Banaras and Lucknow should be fixed and a direct train from Chirmiri and Vishrampur to Banars should be introduced. The passenger train running between Chirmiri to Bilaspur should be extended up to Raipur-Durg. The bridge over Hansdev river between Chirmiri and Manendragarh station is outdated and is in a dilapidated condition. Hence, a new bridge should be constructed over this river.
SHRI VISHNUDEO SAI : I congratulate the hon. Railway Minister for starting 16 new Janashatabdi Express in this Rail Budget. The existing number of trains from Raigarh are not sufficient in view of the increasing number of passengers. The hon. Minister has announced to provide one train from Durg to Bangalore and from Durg to Jaipur once in a week. I welcome this measure. I think once the coaching terminal at Raigarh is constructed, the trains would start running from Raigarh which would in turn benefit more and more number of people. The State Government has made available the land for the construction of terminal and also the railway department has allocated Rs.30 lakh as compensation. However, no amount has been provided for the purpose in this Budget. I request the hon. Minister to provide fund for the construction of coaching terminal.
SHRI PABAN SINGH GHATOWAR : I confine myself to the problems, hopes and expectation of the people of North-Eastern Region. The presence of the Railway in the North Eastern Region is comparably very poor. But I shall thank Shri Nitish Kumar ji for introducing few new trains this year for the people of North-Eastern region. I request the hon. Railway Minister for allocation of more fund for the Bogibeel bridge project on priority basis and see that the project is completed well in time. There are long standing demands for doubling of the Railway line from Jalpaiguri to Guwahati. So far as to start construction work of the Rangia Railway division is concerned, I demand immediate start of this work. Early steps must be taken to start the work of Railway Electrification in the whole of the North Eastern region. Early action has to be taken for the gauge conversion of Rangia to Murkongchelek.
Avadh Assam train should be extended up to Dibrugarh. The inter-city train between Guwahati to Tinsukia should be extended up to Dibrugarh. Connecting Moranhat to Dibrugarh by a new line of 26 km. is a long standing demand. I request the hon. Railway Minister for early consideration of this project. The hon. Railway Minister has dedicated the coming year as Passenger Amenities Year. The safety of the travelling passengers is one of the most important things in the region. Most of the Railway stations of the region are very old and without proper passenger amenities. The compartments of most of the passenger trains are very old. These should be gradually replaced by new compartments. I request the hon. Railway Minister to take all possible steps to fulfil these demands.
SHRI V.S. SIVAKUMAR : The major Projects included in the Budget is the construction of 2nd Terminal at Kochnveli near Trivandrum and conversion of Parassala Station into crossing section. It is requested that the new projects may be taken up on a war footing basis. I request that the allocation may be enhanced. Considering the importance of the TVM Central Railway Station, please direct the concerned authorities to complete the work immediately. Conversion of Nemom Station into a Crossing Station. It is highly helpful to the passengers from the Southern part of TVM. Being a Taluk Headquarters, NTA railway station needs introduction of computerised reservation system for all trains. Stoppage may be allowed to all express trains passing through this station; extention of Platform No. 2 and to provide roofing.
My request is that Dhanuvanchapuram Railway Station may be upgraded into a departmental Station by constructing Permanent Station building instead of temporary asbestose shed and providing basic amenities.
SHRIMATI SHEELA GAUTAM : To provide free meal to the children upto the five years of age in Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express, bottled drinking water, opening of food plaza is a welcome step. The rationalisation of passenger fares and freight charges is also a good step. Introduction of 35 new trains and 16 Janshatabdi Intercity Express trains is also a good step. Common people expect a lot from railway because railway is the major means of transporation for them.
I request to introduce a fast EMU from Aligarh to Delhi. Keeping in view, the passenger rush in mind the number of coaches in Delhi-Aligarh EMU may be increased and the DK-2 may be extended upto Aligarh. EMU train from Aligarh to Delhi and vice versa be introduced. I had given a proposed to develop Aligarh junction into a model station. A train may be introduced from Aligarh to Rajghat-Babrala which can be extended upto Chandausi and Mela special train may be introduced on festival days. There is heavy rush of trains between Aligarh and Delhi, if one more track is provided then it will help smooth running of trains. Platform No. 2 at Aligarh railway station may be extended and the trains of Platform No. 2 be transferred to Platform No. 3.
Old quarters near Malgodam be demolished and waiting room may be provided there for the facility of railway passengers and city booking office may be expanded. Cycle stand at railway station has been closed since long. It should be started immediately. To provide housing facility to railway employees, railway quarters may be got constructed. Keeping the rush in mind, there is a need to extend reservation counter side by side an inquiry counter there. A new pedestrian bridge may be constructed immediately at Platform No. 3 and 4 towards Howrah. Sufficient number of employees may be appointed at Aligarh station for the convenience of passengers. I demand stoppage of Litchvi Express and Purushottam Express at Aligarh station. The frequency of Bareilly/Dadar 4314/4313 Express be increased upto three days in a week. If the Jammu Mail terminating at Delhi station is extended upto Aligarh, it will facilitate the passengers and pilgrims going to Vaishano Devi. The timings of EMU may be set as per the convenience of the passengers going from Tundla to Agra. In the end, I strongly support the Budget presented by Railway Minister and congratulate him for presenting such a balanced Budget.
SHRI S. MURUGESAN : Certain Railway projects are pending in my constituency for a long time which need to be addressed to on priority basis. The include : Allocation of adequate funds for conversion of Virudhunagar-Quilon and Tirunelveli-Tenkasi into broadgauge and early completion; introduction of a new train from Sengottah to Chennai via Madurai; introduction of a new train from Madurai-Mumabi via Tenkasi, Sengottah and Quilon; facilities for booking of tickets through computer from Tenkasi; construction of a railway gate at Sundaresapuram railway line; construction of an overbridge near the railway gate at Pavoor Chathiram; construction of a new broadgauge railway line from Courtallam to Kanyakumari. I appeal to Hon'ble Railway Minister to allocate adequate funds for early completion of already approved projects and ordering survey at the earliest for the new projects.
SHRI TUFANI SAROJ : I strongly oppose the Railway Budget, 2002-2003. Earlier a train was introduced in Auria to Jaunpur which used to run four days in a week. But today, it has been cancelled and a rail bus was introduced there in which there is a provision to accommodate only 75 persons. Due to this, people of this area are facing difficulties. By increasing freight charges and second class passenger fare he has put a burden on poor people. The fare of Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains has not been increased. It seems by not increasing the fares of high class, special attention has been given to the high class people.
Poorvanchal has been ignored in the Budget. A provision should be made to run Rajdhani Express from Varanasi to New Delhi daily. It is the demand of that area that most of the people go to Kolkata for jobs, so a provision should be made to introduce a new train from Varanasi to Howrah.
SHRI SUDIP BANDYOPADHYAY : This year happens to be the 150th year of Indian Railways. The Railways are celebrating this year by taxing the common people and it would collect Rs. 910 crore through increase in Railway fare. The minimum fare for the ordinary second class trains is proposed to be increased from Rs.3 to Rs.4. It comes to 33 per cent increase. The Trinamool Congress in principle has always been opposed to any such decision that causes tremendous difficulty to the common people, particularly the down-trodden and the lower middle-class people. Rs.450 crore is going to be collected from freight charges. Insofar change in the freight of as edible salt is concerned it hits each and every family of the country and the poorest of the poor are badly affected. The same is the case with urea also. I request the hon. Minister to withdraw the hike in a few cases wherever common people are affected.
We are concerned about the safety and security. The Prime Minister along with the Finance Minister has provided Rs.17,000 crore for the safety and security. Rs.5,000 crore out of this will be collected through surcharge by the Railway Ministry. Have the Railways made a Master Plan for this? Would any diversification of fund take place out of this budgetary support? Because in the last two years there has been no budgetary support from the Finance Ministry to the Railway Ministry. Earlier, when railway accidents took place, many Committees and Inquiry Commissions were announced. Lastly, Khanna Committee was announced. But where are the actual reports? What are the main reasons for accidents? Human error, Mechanical fault, Administrative callousness and Technical fault may be reasons for accidents. But unfortunately, after inquiry, when all the reports are placed before the Ministry and the Government, long periods have already lapsed. I hope the Railway Minister will take all precautionary measures when he would launch a massive programme to see that safety and security of the railway passengers are taken care of properly.
I would appreciate the performance of public sector undertakings attached to the Railways in the year 2000-01. They were doing well; but what happened to them? Now the public sector undertakings are facing tremendous threat of disinvestment throughout the country. Even profit-making public sector undertakings are under threat. We are fully satisfied with the performance of the Railway public sector undertakings which are proceeding with their profit-making process and we positively believe that these undertakings will never be handed over to the private sector. We want this to be assured by the Railway Minister. JESSOP is a unit in Bengal which used to make wagons. It was a public sector undertaking and only against a price of Rs.18 crore, it has been recently handed over to a strategic partner in spite of the fact that it was fully engaged with the production arrangements for the Railways.
Track renewal is due since years and it is pending. We are keen to know in what capacity and manner this Master Plan is going to be set up. When Shri Nitish Kumar was the Railway Minister earlier, he published a White Paper. Many things were published on this issue. We are keen to know whether the Action Taken Reports of different Commissions alongwith the steps taken by the Government as follow-up measures will be tabled in the House or not.
Accountability of the Railway Department is to be fixed. Austerity is one of the most important steps to be taken by the Government. Expenditure management of the Department is urgently required. I would like to speak about the Railtel Corporation. Shri Sam Pitroda is an expert on this subject. I would like to know whether Railtel has totally been withdrawn or still it exists. We are very anxious that track renewal, modernisation, research and analytical development should take place properly.
SHRI KISHAN LAL DILER : Railways have made remarkable progress, but at Hathras in Aligarh the progress is not visible. I would like to request for construction of a bridge over the railway crossing in Hathras city as this route is used by passengers going to Meerut, Hapur, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahar, Khurja, Bareilly Aligarh, Agra and Bharatpur. People are facing problems far want of this bridge. Barauni Express and Prayagraj Express should be stopped at Hathras junction.
DR. C. KRISHNAN : Pollachi is my Parliamentary Constituency and this is a place which is connected by only meter gauge from Coimbatore to Dindugal via Palani. Conversion of this length of meter gauge rail to broad gauge is a long pending. Preliminary works for conversion has already been done during 2001-2002. But this time nothing has been announced in Railway Budget to take up this gauge conversion project.
I request that as per the public demand two new trains be introduced between Coimbatore to Tirunelveli and Coimbatore to Tiruchendur. I request also to sanction three over-bridges in my native place. Udumalpet-Dhalli Road Rail Crossing, Ramasamy Nagar-Udumalpet Rail Crossing, Pollachi to Valparai Road Rail Crossing. I will request to take up the project of Mysore Samraj Nagar via Dharapuram to Palani via Sathyamangalam. This will connect major business centres and townships in my constituency.
SHRI SHIVAJI MANE : I support the Railway Budget for the year 2002-2003. This Budget is good for the urban areas. No burden has been imposed on the poor and general public. The Railway Minister has not allocated sufficient funds/amount for the Akola Purna Project in my Constituency, which was sanctioned in the year 1999-2000. This project is beneficial for the infrastructural development of Marathwara Region. Mudkhed-Adilabad gauge conversion work was sanctioned in the year 1985-86. Unfortunately, this project has not been completed so far. If this project is completed it will be helpful to the Marathwara Electricity Board and the goods trains which transport Coal from the Coal Mines to Thermal Power Station in Beed district.
In the last Budget, the Railway Minister made announcement regarding computerisation of all District Railway Stations, but in my Constituency `Hingoli' District there is no computerisation facility. In this Budget no announcement has been made about a new train from Mumbai to Nanded. Hence the people in Marathwada Region are frustrated and angry. No budget provision has been made for the new Railway lines in remote areas and for modernization of the railways to improve railway revenue. Railway Minister has to introduce new railway lines to find out new market for the remote areas. Due to heavy fog the railway services get disturbed and the railway is suffering heavy losses on this account. So far no technology has been introduced to face this menace.
DR. RAM LAKHAN SINGH : I support this Budget. I want to say something about my constituency. The work on Guna Etawah railway line may be completed within stipulated time. The work on Bhind-Urai via Mahoba new railway line may be completed soon after getting it surveyed.
Pathankot train may be provided stoppage at Basai station from Ist April. Stoppage of Jhelam Express may be provided at Datiya.
I hope that the points raised by me will be taken into consideration so that the development in my area can take place.
DR. RAMESH CHAND TOMAR : I welcome the announcement made by the hon. Minister in his budget regarding all new projects and new trains. The thousands of passengers between Modinagar, Muradnagar, Duhai, Ghaziabad and Delhi have to take risky traveling on the roof tops of buses and trains in the absence of adequate railway facilities. I request you to order the stoppage of Jalandhar Express train No. 4681/4682 at Modinagar and introduction of a shuttle between Meerut-New Delhi immediately.
The provision of accident safety fund in the rail budget 2002-2003 is a welcome step. I request you to make a provision of toilets in the E.M.U. trains keeping the problems being faced by passengers in mind. The number of E.M.U. trains may be increased. I request you to electrify the track from Ghaziabad to Meerut and Ghaziabad to Moradabad so that electric trains can be introduced there.
The following trains may be provided stoppage at Ghaziabad: 2003-2004 Shatabdi Express, 2815-2816 Puri Express, 2381-2382 Poorva Express, 8605-8606 Swarn Jayanti Express, 2391-2392 Magadh Express, 5205-5206 Lichawi Express, 2801-2802 Purshottam Express, 2553-2554 Vaishali Express, 2555-2556 New Delhi Gorakhpur Express, 5622 down North East Express, 5708 down Maharashtra Katihar Express, 4056 down Brahmputra Express, 2418 down Prayagraj Express. I once again support the Rail Budget and congratulate the hon. Minister of Railways for presenting a good budget.
SHRIMATI KANTI SINGH : The hon. Minister has said in his Rail Budget that this year is being celebrated as Passenger Amenity Year. It seems that he is concerned only with the passengers of First Class and AC category because the amenities for the poor people have been totally ignored. The rich people can travel by air instead of train. But their amenities are being increased and the amenities for poor people are decreasing day by day. It is a matter of great concern.
The Chambal Express and Shipra Express, runs from Kolkata to Indore for three days. Stoppage of the said train may be provided at Dehri-on-sone. A railway line may be constructed from Dehri-on-sone to Bhavnathpur. The progress of the work on Arah-Sasaram railway line is very slow. I want that it should be expedited so that the construction be taken up soon. There is a need of an overbridge Dehri-on-sone. There is no level crossing at Mahadeva in my constituency. I want that a railway level crossing may be provided there. The porters working at railway station may be given the status of class IV employee. The hon. Minister should roll back the increase of freight charges on salt and urea otherwise he may be termed as anti-poor.
A special sleeper bogy may be attached to Brahmputra Mail, North East from Patna to Guwahati. The electrification work on the railway line from Gaya to Keol may be taken up.
SHRI RAGHUNATH JHA : Justice has been done to the backward State of Bihar in the matter of Railways by sanctioning new rail lines, gauge conversion and doubling of rail lines, construction of rail bridges, electrification of tracks and road over-bridge on river Ganga in Patna. I would like to thank the Minister of Railways for sanctioning 17 new rail lines to fulfil the long pending demand of the people of Bihar. Gauge conversion of 6 lines has been sanctioned. Doubling of tracks of 13 lines and electrification of 10 railway lines has been sanctioned. Money should be allocated on priority basis for these projects to complete them within a given time frame. In Hazipur, Zonal Office of Railways should be formally opened and the work of construction of bridge on river Ganga in Patna should be expedited. Work on Sitamarhi-Muzaffarpur new rail line should be got completed soon. Jayanagar, Darbhanga, Sitamarhi via Narkatiaganj broad gauge line should be completed soon. Work on Kaptanganj Thawe, Siwan, Gopalganj, Chhapra broad guage line should be expedited. Railway station of Gopalganj, Thawe Station, Didhwa-Devoli, Sidvadiya should be modernised and work on gauge conversion should be completed soon.
SHRI V. VETRISELVAN : In this budget, I want to request the hon. Minister to do something for my Constituency especially the new line between Jolarpet and Hosur via Krishnagiri. It is the long time dream of people of my constituency to have a new train between Jolarpet and Hosur via Krishnagiri. Krishnagiri is one of the important business places in Dharmapuri district. Krishnagiri is surrounded by two State-Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Several thousands of people are coming to Krishnagiri from various places of India and several people are going from Krishnagiri to other parts of the country. Therefore, I request the Government that computerised reservation counter should be opened at Krishnagiri. As a Member of Parliament of Krishnagiri constituency, I thank you on my behalf and on behalf of my constituency people for having run a special train between Bangalore and Madurai on every Saturday. Hosur is in the map of one of the major industrial cities in India. Commuters are depending on buses only to their home towns as till now there is not train to Madurai and beyond via Hosur and Dharmapuri. Under the above circumstances, I request that the Winter Special train between Madurai and Bangalore should be converted into a regular express service with immediate effect and the frequency should be increased to daily basis from the existing weekly basis. The reservation quota for Hosur Railway Station is earmarked as 40 berths. The entire 40 berths were reported to be booked within an hour from the time of booking and many passengers were negatively replied. Hence, I request you for increase in the quota from 40 to 100 berths. There is no train running from Hosur to Chennai. Therefore, I request the Minister to allot one bogie from Hosur which should be attached with Bangalore Mail running from Bangalore to Chennai. Jolarpet railway junction is very historical railway junction. But there is no computerised reservation facility. Therefore, I request the Government to open a computerised reservation counter at Jolarpet as quick as possible.
SHRI SUKDEO PASWAN : The Railway Minister deserves all praise for presenting a very good Budget. I would like to make some demands for the backward constituency of mine close to the border. New rail line should be laid between Supaur railway station and Pipra-Triveniganj, Jadia, Bhargawan, Raniganj, Gitwas, Araria because this is the main rail line connecting the five important divisions. Probably, survey work of Shankerpur-Triveniganj in Madhepura district Jadhia, Koriapatti, Chhatapur, Chunni, Mirdaul, Narpadganj, Vathnaha to Jogbani was ordered. In the past, there was a railway line between Vathnaha to Achara, Valua Bazar, Virpur and Bhimnagar but for a long time, it is not in use. We saw the trains plying on it 35 years back. Even now, the railway could be seen. Former Railway Minister and Former Prime Minister, Shri Deve Gowda, gave an assurance for Araria R.S., Haldia, Simroha, Doria Purandaha, Khawaspur, Kushikata, Sikti, Palasi Galgatia to New Jalpaiguri. There is a need for new railway line from Vatnaha to Sonamarhi Godam, Garaiya, Kuwari. Many people in this backward area have not seen railway train. The work on Jogbani-Katihar is progressing slowly. The officers should be directed to get it completed soon. The work on Mansi-Saharsa-Supaul, Lalitgram, whose foundation stone is laid by former Minister of Railways, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan is pending. It should be got expedited. A train runs between Lalitgram and Pratapganj. Madhubani falls in between. If halt is provided at Madhubani, it will benefit lakhs of persons.
SHRI DINESH CHANDRA YADAV : I represent a very backward area of Bihar, known as Kosi region and covers Saharsa, Madhepura, Supaul, Araria. In 1996, gauge conversion from Mansi to Forbisganj was approved and the work on first phase of Mansi to Saharsa, 43 kms stretch, was started. In every budget, money is allocated, but the work on 43 kms stretch has not been completed yet. On this section, many bridges are to be constructed and the work on these should be completed within a given time frame because non-completion of projects is a matter of concern among the people. Work on gauge conversion between Katihar via Purnia has been started and should be got completed soon. Britishers constructed a railway line from Nirmali to Bhaptiahi but it has been damaged by river Kosi and must be reconstructed. At Khagaria 30 seconds halt at least should be provided to Rajdhani Express. There should be a retiring room at Radhopur. At Tharbhita railway station, the culvert has been damaged. Box culvert should be constructed there. Approach road at Saharsa railway station should be got repaired. At Saharsa railway station, construction of over bridge was cleared but the work is yet to start. It should be constructed soon. At Koparia station, parcel booking facility should be provided on permanent basis as there is no road link. In the trains, of Samstipur division, AC coaches should be attached. Money allocated for Jainagar-Narkatiaganj gauge conversion via Dharbhanga is meagre and the work is going on for the last three years. Similar is the case of Mansi-Saharsa and the work is not progressing. Construction of Sakri-Hassanpur railway line has not started. Though money is allocated in the Railway Budget for construction yet the construction work could not start. In Janjarpur, computerised railway reservation centre should be set up. In the year 1996-97, new railway line between Sitamarhi and Muzaffarpur was sanctioned but land acquisition has not started. Land acquisition should be started soon. Gauge conversion of Mansi-Saharsa-Forbisganj-Madhepura-Purnia should be started.
SHRI NIHAL CHAND CHOUHAN : I represent that desert area of Rajasthan which has border with Pakistan and land mines are laid in the area for quite sometimes. That area is totally neglected from the railway point of view. There is only one train named Udhyan Abha Express which goes to that area from Delhi. The gauge conversion work from Swaroopsar to Sriganganagar has not been undertaken as yet in Western Rajasthan. Due to delay in conversion of this gauge, farmers are unable to get appropriate price for their produce. This gauge conversion work is also very important from the security point of view. I, therefore, request the Government to kindly accord necessary approval for converting this meter gauge line into a broad gauge line in the interest of traders and common man. I, further request the hon. Railway Minister to kindly introduce a new train from New Delhi to Sriganganagar and also to connect Anupgarh and Suratgarh directly from New Delhi.
SHRI ASHOK ARGAL : I congratulate the hon. Railway Minister to presenting a good railway budget in adverse situation. I want to draw the attention of hon. Minister towards Thyopurkala meter gauge line in Gwalior district of my Constituency. Inspite of all the necessary approval no gauge conversion work have been undertaken so far. I, therefore, request the hon. Minister to kindly make provision for undertaking this gauge conversion work at the earliest. This will not only facilitate the people of this area but also increase the revenue of railway. Not only that, this gauge conversion will be beneficial from the tourism point of view. As per a new plan district headquarters has to be equipped with the computerised reservation facilities. I, therefore, request the hon. Minister to kindly provide this facility in Thyopur which come under my Constituency. I also request the hon. Minister to provide the stoppage of G.T. Express, Mahamaya Express, Hirakud Express, Saikhand Express at the station of Murena district in my Constituency. Similarly, I request him to provide stoppage of Mahakaushal Express and Malwa Express at Baunmore railway station in Western Railway and also to construct an overbridge in Murena town.
SHRI E.M. SUDARSANA NATCHIAPPAN : I feel that this Railway Budget is having some unique deviation from the normal conventional Budget. Privatisation and market economy is now coming up. Now, global economy and privatisation can develop road; it can develop the shipping area and it can develop air. But why is the Railways not having any competition? Therefore, we have to concentrate on the area, which is neglected, the area which has to be developed and the area which needs transportation.
In my constituency, there are so many things that has to be transported. Rameswaram is a famous place which has also been neglected. This is a Budget where my Constituency as well as nearby areas have been totally neglected. During the Ninth Five Year Plan the Government gave Rs.45,413 crore for 3710 kilometres of rails where broad-gauge conversion is to be made. After four years, it is only 1,832 kilometres, which is less than 50 per cent achievement of the target. Gauge conversion is treated as one of the factors of economic development of an area but that was not achieved at all.
In the case of goods traffic, the earnings is 64 per cent; passenger traffic, it is 29 per cent; and the coach earnings is two per cent. At Perambur, in the Integral Coach Factory, a lot of orders are pending from various Asian and African countries but they are not executed. Now, the Government want to close down the Integral Coach Factory, which is the prestige of Tamil Nadu. Majority of MPs from Tamil Nadu are supporting the ruling alliance of the country. But what is the gift this Government have given for this support? This is the first time Tamil Nadu is totally neglected because the Government have got a new formula. This means, the people who are following population control would not be given enough funds. The States that are developing and enforcing national plans are gifted with nothing.
Out of a Plan outlay of Rs.175 crore only Rs.2 crore is allocated for the Madurai-Rameswaram line. Would you be able to take it up? The requirement is of Rs.250 crore but the Government have allotted only Rs.2 crore. How can that be implemented? If the Government have got any financial restrictions. Let there be a bond in the name of Rameswaram, where the Government can borrow as they did in the case of the Konkan Railway. Now, new friends from the AIADMK are also supporting this Government. They would also get benefited by the new lines.
Finally, I would like to submit that there is plenty of land near the railway tracks. The Government have deviated from the projects given for cable laying. How can that be left in the middle? This is a very good project.
In the same way, the Government want to concentrate upon the Golden Quadrilateral and diagonal connection of the four Metros alone. Simply saying that Chennai also is connected with it, will not serve the purpose. Chennai is on the northern side of Tamil Nadu. In no way it is going to help us. We need this type of projects which connect Rameshwaram and also Sivakasi.
I would also like to submit that in Namanasamudram Division, about 200 families are living on the adjacent side of the railway track, without hindering anything, for the past 30 years. Kindly see that some lease rate is fixed for these people to hold their lands. In the same way, I would like to suggest that computerisation of Sivaganga, as a revenue headquarters, should be done.
With these words, I just remind the hon. Minister that the budgeted BOLT project Own Your Wagon Scheme should be implemented. That is a very good scheme and has to be marketed properly. Also, the coach factory should be improved and more investment should be made because more orders are coming.
SHRI PUNNU LAL MOHALE : I request the hon. Minister to enhance the funds meant for Bilaspur division, to provide stoppage of Amarkantak Express, Sarnath Express at Bilda Station in Bilaspur (Chhatisgarh); to introduce a local train from Bilsapur to Anuppur; to extend the Chirimiri Bilaspur passenger upto Raipur; to open an office of Railway Recruitment Board at Bilsapur(Chhatisgarh); to construct platform no. 2 at Manendragarh railway station and also to take necessary action for repairing railway racks at Manendragarh. Similarly, introduce a new train from Bilaspur to Lucknow and run Delhi-Bhubaneshwar Rajdhani Express via Sambhalpur-Bilaspur-Katani-Bina.
SHRI HARIBHAU SHANKAR MAHALE : IInd class railway fare has been increased. The freight charges have also been increased and it would lead to further inflation only. Rail Budget is supplementary to the General Budget. The Hon. Railway Minister has sought financial assistance from the Government of India which is not desirable. The railway board has become a liability on the Government, it should be restructured. The Railway has to incur direct and indirect losses. It should be checked. It is 150 years since railway was started in the country. It is unfortunate that the railway has not acquired self-sufficiency to sustain on its own. The catering in railway need to be improved. All the rail lines under Mumbai Central Railway should be electrified. One more train should be introduced between Mumbai to Delhi. Nasik road station should be renovated. There is a need to provide railway stoppage of trains at Sodana and Oda railway stations. A New rail line between Manmad, Malegaon Dhulia, Nardana, and Indur should be sanctioned. A new rail line from Nasik to Puna need to be sanctioned. Manmad railway station should be renovated. Pawan rail should be given a halt at Nandgaon railway station. Vidarbh Express should have a halt at Nyaydongri, Tavnandgaon. The demand of providing railway land for opening National Education Institution at Manmad should be fulfilled with. There is a need to provide transportation facilities in Nasik district where grapes are grown in abundance. There is a train between Kli and Gorakhpur via Allahabad, it should have a halt at Manmad railway station. The halt of Pushpak train at Nasik Manmad need to be provided. The repeated requests made by the coolies working in railways need to be considered sympathetically.
SHRIMATI JAS KAUR MEENA supporting the Rail Budget, said: Indian railways carries 1 crore 30 lakh passengers everyday to their respective destinations. It also transports lakhs of tones of goods from one place to another place. 48 new trains including 16 Jan Shatabdi Express have been introduced for the facility of passengers. It is a welcome step. Frequencies of trains have been increased. Employees have been taken due care of by increasing the allocation from Rs.129 crore in the past years to Rs.325 crore in the present budget for them. The provisions for providing rail neer, food plaza and free food to the children upto the age of 5 years is a welcome step. However, in the case of any emergency, the health worker with a health kit should be provided in trains. The number of general bogies in the fast trains need to be increased. All distant trains should have general bogies. Proper arrangements should be made for the safe transportation of agro-products to the metropolitan cities. At the same times, provision should be made for the convenient travel of the tourists from one place to another place, which would lead to the increase in the revenue of the railways. More reservation facility need to be provided for the tourists. With the introduction of Jan Shatabdi Express, Rajasthan would be greatly benefited. So far as the new Jan Shatabdi between Kota and Nizamuddin is concerned, it would not be economically viable if it carries less than 800 passengers. It should be extended upto Chittorgarh. So that the tourists could visit Chittorgarh, Boondi, Kota, Savai Madhopur and also Agra. If all these suggestions are included in this rationalize rail budget, it would definitely make it a historical budget. The people of my constituency are thankful to the hon. Minister for the facilities provided to the constituency represented by a women Member of Parliament. My one more suggestion is that each crossing should have a overhead road for the safe passage of the people. The Member of Parliament as well as the State Governments are prepared to contribute their share in this work. Rs. 15 crore has been allocated first time for the construction of line between Dausa to Gangapur. The people of Dang area have been looking forward to railways for the last 50 years. If a line is constructed from Gangapur to Dhaulpur, it would add a feather to the cap of the Indian railways. This dacoit infested tribal area would be greatly benefited with this measure.
SHRI K.H. MUNIYAPPA : This budget lacks any progressive aspects concerning relief to railway users and totally overlooking many ongoing projects. Many ambitious gauge conversion projects are in a stand still. Present budget is silent on any allocation for Banglore-Jewallarpet gauge conversion. Gauge conversion between Chikkaballapur-Kolar is still incomplete. Until and unless this project is completed the money already spent will be of no use. The completion of the measuring link between Chikkabalapur and Kolar and extending the Railway line between Srinivaspur and Madanpalli which connects Bangarpet and Bangalore is of very importance. No sincere effort has been made by the Government to mobilize additional resources to fund the on going projects. Rajdhani Express between Banglore-Nizamuddin-Bangalore should be run everyday. Bangalore-Bangrapet train may please be extended to Marrikuppam. I request that doubling from Bangalore-Jolarpet may be completed. Bangalore to Gunntakal line be doubled. At Kolar Railway Station computerized reservation facility must be made available. Railway over bridge at Yelhanka Air Force Training School on National Highway No. 7 to be completed. Railway over bridge at Doddapla on National Highway 7 and an over bridge at Irregenahally between Nandi Cross and Devananhalli National Highway be constructed. An over bridge at Tekal, Malur Taluk, Bangalore, Bangrapet Railway Line be constructed. Harricula Railway Station to be reopened which is one of the oldest railway stations. In Karnataka Express Train passing through Manmad via Koppargouan reserve at least 10 berths from both the sides in Ist Class-4, IInd class, Sleeper 6. I urge upon the Hon. Minister to reconsider the request of the BEML employees and they may be given orders for construction of at least 500 coaches.
SHRI PAWAN KUMAR BANSAL: I welcome the decision to introduce Jan Shatabdi between Chandigarh and Delhi. It meets a long pending demand of people of modest means. However, the people feel the necessity of direct train links to different parts of the country. This is necessary, not only for the residents to visit their places of origin spread across the length and breadth of the country, but also for promotion of tourism. Welcoming the extension of one train from Saharanpur to Chandigarh, I urge the hon. Minister to connect Chandigarh to the South by extending any one train from Delhi to Chandigarh. The city also needs to be connected directly to Mount Abu. A new platform has been built at Chandigarh on Panchkula-Mauli Jagran side but it lacks many essential facilities. It needs to be attended to immediately. By its size and importance, Punjab needs due attention by Railways. Practically no new line has been laid in the State for decades. Moga to Maur via Badhni needs to be brought on the railway map.
SHRIMATI RENU KUMARI : At present, the Ministry of Railways is faced with financial constraint to carry out development in works. The greatest need of the hour is to change the old and archaic railway tracks. Besides, the signalling system for Railways operation should also be modernised. The Railways hopes to earn Rs.910 crore by dint of the railway passenger fare hike and Rs.1360 crore by hike in freight charges. For the past some years, there has been an increase in train accidents. One of the prime reasons for such accidents seems to be lack of modernisation of the system.
Many districts of Bihar and Jharkhand are still bereft of rail link. There is need to lay railway lines in these districts. At present, huge railway land is lying vacant and unused. This land can be given on lease and market complexes constructed on it. This will throw open employment opportunities as also help the Railways earn a handsome revenue. I urge upon the hon. Minister to accord sanction for providing a halt at Banikpur and Ekchari. A stoppage of Rajdhani Express should be provided at Khagaria station. This will help mitigate the problems of the Members of Parliament coming from Saharsa, Khagaria, Madhepura, Balia and Araria. A culvert or a sluice gate should be constructed at Navgacchia so as to salvage the local people from water logging problem. A stoppage of Mahananda Express at Narayanpur station and Danapur-Katihar Express at Pasraha station should be provided and modern facilities should be made available at Pasraha station.
SHRI BHAN SINGH BHAURA : An over-bridge is under construction at Bhatinda which should be completed soon. I would also request the hon. Minister to provide for construction of an underbridge in Mansa district where there is a level crossing at which people have to wait for hours together. A railway link should be provided between Chandigarh and Ludhiana. Rama-Mandi is situated on Sirsa-Bhatinda line. There is need for constructing an overbridge there. The trains number 5711 and 5712 running between Asansol and New Jalpaiguri should be extended upto Kharagpur. The Pilgrims of Ludhiana headed for Damdama Saheb have to travel an additional distance of 50 kms. This distance can be lessened only if a level crossing is sanctioned there.
SHRI N.T. SHANMUGAM : Renewal of 17 thousand kilometres of track, and building of three thousand bridges with the help of a Special Railway Safety Fund of Rs.17,000 crore and laudable objectives. Indian Railways will be using the equipment Raksha Kavach designed by Konkan Railway to prevent train collisions. This will ensure safety in rail operations. Labour welfare measures have been enhanced. The year 2002 is observed as the Year of Passenger Amenities. Passenger fare has been increased by eight per cent to 10 per cent only. There is only a moderate increase in freight rates. Evidently, care has been taken to minimise the burden on the public. I appeal to the hon. Minister of Railways provide more funds for the ongoing railway projects in Tamil Nadu. Kanyakumari-Chennai Express running through Arakkonam, Katpadi, Jolarpet and Salem has been discontinued. It may be reintroduced. Chennai-Mysore Shatabdi Express and Chennai-Coimbatore Cheran Express may kindly be given a stoppage at Katpadi. Katpadi Junction may be converted into a model station. The Minister may consider extending Chennai-Jaipur Express up to Ajmer. In Vellore, computerised passenger reservation system may be introduced.
SHRI NIKHIL KUMAR CHOUDHARY : A Janashatabdi train sanctioned for Katihar to Patna should be replaced by a pair of trains, one leaving Katihar in the morning and reaching Patna and the other returning from Patna during the daytime itself. A 110 acre railway land is lying unutilised under Katihar railway zone. If construction of concrete sleeper and small parts is allowed, the unemployed youth of district Katihar will get employment and the vacant land also can be put to use. The Guwahati-Dadar Express that runs twice a week via Katihar should be run on daily basis and reservation quota of all classes enhanced. The Guwahati-Lohit Express running once a week should also be run daily. A new train should be run from Katihar railway station for South India. A stoppage of Tista-Tosha Express should be provided at Barsoi railway junction.
A direct train running from Katihar to Varanasi which ran from Katihar to Howrah has been discontinued since August 1987. It should again be extended up to Katihar. The people will greatly benefit if a stoppage of Awadh-Assam Express is provided there. Many labourers travel to Lucknow from this place. A direct train service should be introduced from Katihar to Darbhanga. The old booking office at Katihar railway junction should be modernised and computerised. The dilapidated railway overbridge near Katihar city booking office should be reconstructed. The doctors of all the departments should be deputed in Katihar railway hospital. An emergency reservation facility should be made available for North-East Express. Appointment on Class-IV posts should soon be made under Katihar Railway Zone. A foot-overbridge should be constructed at Gaushala railway crossing. A Railway residential colony should be constructed for railway employees in Katihar.
DR. (SHRIMATI) SUDHA YADAV : I would like to draw the attention of hon. Railway Minister towards the following demands and pending projects.
Introduction of a DMU between Rewari-Sarai Rohilla, conversion of Rewari Narnaul Ringus line, extension of Chandigarh-Delhi bound Himalyan Queen upto Rewari Junction and also the extension of new proposed Jan Shatabdi Express upto Rewari, a new project between Rewari-Rohtak should be given approval, Computerized booking should be introduced at Narnaul railway station, Rewari station be modernised by providing more facilities, doubling of broad gauge line between Rewari and Delhi on priority basis, more coaches to passengers trains running between Rewari and Delhi and its schedule should be as per the convenience of daily passengers.
SHRI AMAR ROY PRADHAN : North-East sector has been totally neglected, Eklakhi-Balurghat railway line is a project of Rs.274 crore; last time, an amount of Rs.50 crore was allotted and this time, an amount of only Rs.20 crore has been allotted. Even today, it requires Rs.120 crore more. Already 20 years have passed to complete the project. Regarding New Maynaguri-Jogigopa railway line of 245 kms, it is a project of Rs.733 crore. But we see the same thing in this project also. To develop the North Bengal area and for that purpose we asked for New Maynaguri to Jogigopa railway line via Coochbehar, Dhubri and Bilasipara. Budgetary provision during 2000-2001 was Rs.6 crore. In the year 2001-2002 it was Rs.10 crore but only Rs. 2,01,00,000 has been spent. In this way, you cannot develop a backward area. For the Eklakhi-Balurghat project only Rs. 8 crore have been given. This backward area has been completely neglected. I would request the hon. Minister to take note of it.
DR. SUSHIL KUMAR INDORA : I would like to request the hon. Railway Minister to look into my demands. There is a need to construct a railway level crossing near the college in Bhattu, Haryana, the survey work in respect of connecting Fetehabad with new rail line should be completed in a stipulated time and also to make a provision in the budget for a new rail line, a provision should be made in this budget to complete the project of linking Fatehabad, Ratia, Jakhal, Bhoona, Agreha and Hissar etc. with rail line which is pending for the last two years, A overbridge at Dabwali on the National Highway No.10 be constructed. A new Rajdhani Train connecting Abohar, Suragarh, Hanumangarh, Dabwali, Bhatinda, Sirsa, Hissar with Delhi, be introduced. A intercity between Delhi-Sirsa and Bhatinda be introduced extension of Haryana Express train upto Bhatinda and its timings needs to be rescheduled also need to add A.C. compartments to this train, the main gate of Sirsa station should face the city for which modernization of this station is required.
CHOWDHARY TALIB HUSSAIN : Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remains cut off, due heavy rainfall and snow thereby affecting adversely the whole system of transport. There is need to construct Railway line from Jammu to Srinagar and beyond up to Bramullah or Uni. Jammu-Udhampur Railway Project cannot be completed due to paucity of funds and unsatisfactory implementation. The Government stands committed to provide adequate funds for the above said project but nothing concrete has so far been done in this connection. The passengers face innumerable problems owing to single track from Jallandhar to Jammu. The Government gave assurances several times to build double track Railway line from Jallandhar to Jammu, but nothing has been done in this regard.
SHRIMATI ABHA MAHTO : Ghatshila is an important town of Jharkhand state. Therefore, Neelanchal Express and Purshottam Express running between New Delhi and Puri should be given stoppage at Ghatshila. There is also a need to set up computerized reservation centre at Ghatshila, Hatia Rajdhani Express running between New Delhi and Ranchi should be made twice a week, there is a need to change the name of Hatia Rajdhani Express as Hatia/Ranchi Rajdhani Express, Bhubneshwar Rajdhani Express should run via Tata Nagar at least once in a week, the passenger trains running between Gidhni and Chakulia should be given stoppage at Kanimauli, toilet facilities should be provided in DMU trains, need to re-introduce 8181 Tata Chhapra Express upto Gorakhpur, need to extend the 5105 Manduadeeh-Baidhnath Dham Train upto Tatanagar and also to start this train from Tatanagar.
SHRI A. BRAHMANAIAH : I am grateful to our hon. Minister, Shri Nitish Kumar for having allotted Rs. 280 crore for the development of South-Central Railway in this year's Budget. The Railways were expected not only to expand the services but also to ensure safe travel. In this connection, a number of Committees were appointed to recommend safeguards to ensure safety measures and also disciplinary measures to be taken against the erring employees.
I want to mention some of the problems concerning my Constituency, Machlipatnam. In Pedana Railway Station, a computer reservation tickets facility be introduced. At Chilakalapudy Railway Station, waiting rooms are in bad shape and there is no drinking water facility. The level of the platform is at so high therefore immediate repairs are required at the Station. A construction of over-bridge at Hanuman Junction is also needed. I request to the Minister to run the Amaravathy Express from Machilipatnam instead of Vijaywada. The Simhadri Express may be diverted towards Gudiwada and Bhimavaram. This arrangement will be more useful and it will become a direct service between Machilipatnam and Vishakapatnam. The Secunderabad-Machilipatnam Express may be extended up to Khairtabad.
Lastly, I would like to bring to the kind notice of the hon. Railway Minister that Machilipatnam is the district headquarters. Therefore, a pucca maintenance yard can be developed at Machilipatnam Railway Station where ample space is available.
SHRI PRAVIN RASHTRAPAL : I am disappointed as a Member of Parliament from North Gujarat that the most genuine demands of the people of Banaskantha District, Mehsana District, Patan District and Sabarkantha District are not accepted by the hon. Railway Minister. The Government will appreciate and agree that the main indicators for the performance of the Indian Railways are safety, security and service. I am sorry to say that the Godhra incident took place on account of the failure of the Railway Protection Force police.
I may request the hon. Railway Minister to institute a special inquiry into the failure of the Railway Protection Force personnel in this unfortunate incident at Godhra on 27th of last month. When the hon. Railway Minister, Shri Nitish Kumar visited Patan in July 1998 he announced that the Railway bridges and culverts will be constructed to suit broad-gauge railway line and Patan-Mehsana railway line would be converted from metre-gauge to broad-gauge very soon. If this assurance given in public is not implemented then what will be the fate of the people of that constituency.
I am also here to protest against the surcharge levied with effect from 1.10.2002. Railways can charge fare but cannot charge for safety. I protest, as a man from Gujarat against the Budget which shows that the freight levied on salt is very heavy. I also want to remind the Railway Minister that the assurance given for the new Zonal Office at Ahmedabad has not been fulfilled. The conversion of railway line between Viramgam to Patan to Bhildi and Viramgam to Mehsana was approved long back. Every year, they are releasing about Rs.5 to Rs.10 crore. How many years will it take then to complete the work in this situation? I would request the hon. Minister to approve Gandhidham-Palampur line. The Government can provide a useful terminus at Palampur. Gujarat has got one Rajdhani Express. But Gujarat has no stoppage. When Rajasthan is given three stoppages, why no stoppage for Gujarat? Sidpur is the only place for performing mathru shradh. I am requesting that Rajdhani may be stopped at Sidpur.
SHRI SURENDRA SINGH BARWALA : It seems that the hon. Railway Minister has forgotten about the State of Haryana when he was formulating the Railway Budget. As per the NCR Scheme, Delhi is encircled by Haryana from three sides as per the NCR Scheme. So, this Haryana State is very important, but no attention has been paid by the Central Government in regard to new rail project in the state during the last 50 years. Therefore, there is an urgent need for laying new railway lines in Haryana. In view of this, I would like to request the Railway Minister for providing railway connectivity to Fatehabad, which is a district and a big town, which lies between Hisar and Delhi. There should also be a railway line between Rohtak and Rewari. With the construction of this railway line, Rajasthan will be connected with Haryana and there will be no need to cross Delhi for going to Rajasthan. Similarly, the hon. Minister had done the survey work of railway line from Gohana to Sonepat. There is also need to construct overbridges in Haryana. Apart from this, there is also need to construct an overbridge at Dabwali situated at National Highway. There is also a need to construct a level crossing in front of college at Bhattu.
I also request the hon. Minister to restore the DMU train which used to run from Jind to Rohtak Junction. Similarly, there is also need to run Dadar-Amritsar 1057-1058 Dn., via Rohtak, Jind, Jakhal, Dhuni and Ludhiana instead of Bandikui and Panipat. There is also need to restore 1PU and 2PU 303 Delhi-Kalaka train. I also request him to introduce Delhi-Ganganagar Shatabdi Intercity express via Sirsa. With these words, I request the hon. Minister to pay kind attention towards Haryana when he revises the Railway Budget.
SHRIMATI PRABHA RAU : I am making a few suggestions to be incorporated in the proceeding with your kind permission. The following bridges are very necessary in my constituency as well as next to my constituency Wardha. A railway bridge over railway crossing at Dhamangaon Railway, District-Amravati; a railway bridge over railway crossing at Hinganghat; a railway bridge on National Highway No. 6 at Hinganghat; a railway bridge over Pulgaon Railway Crossing and a railway bridge most urgently required at Boti Bori Railway Crossing in Nagpur on National Highway No. 6.
It has become necessary to provide security for passengers in the railway for each compartments in all the trains. The illegal encroachment along side the rail tracks in various places especially in big cities and towns also is causing various problems. They create unhealthy atmosphere by using the public toilets on the platform as well as in the trains. Due attention is to be given to this problem. All over the world facilities to physically handicapped persons to facilitate railway journey for them. A beginning in our country has to be made atleast by introducing excalator service on the stations, where there are more than two platforms. The trains coming from Kolkata to Mumbai and from Nagpur to Mumbai should terminate at Shri Chattarpati Shivaji Railway Terminious and not Kurla Station of Mumbai.
SHRI SURESH KURUP : The longstanding demand of the people of Kerala regarding doubling of Ernakulam-Kayam-Kulam railway line via Kottayam and Aleeppey may be given priority.
SHRI RAM RAGHUNATH CHAUDHARY : I hail from district Nagaur. Makrana is situated in this very district which is known for its marble quarries. However, it is regretted that so far as the Railways are concerned, this district has not got its due share in terms of Rail network. The existing train services need to be streamlined. The train from Jaipur to Chennai runs twice a week. This train should be extended up to Jodhpur and Bikaner and it should be run four days in a week. Earlier there was a train named Marudhar Express from Jodhpur to Delhi. This train service has been discontinued ever since the gauge conversion of this line has been taken up. Now there is a local train service on metre-gauge which takes more than 20 hours to reach Delhi. Hence, the hon. Minister is requested that the remaining work of gauge conversion from Degana junction to Ratangarh be expedited or at least there should be a direct train service from Degana junction to Delhi. I also demand that from Medata Road to Medata City, a train having at least five bogies should be introduced and it should be connected with Pushkar and Ajmer. Makrana is a major town which lies on main railway line from Jaipur to Jodhpur. I demand that it should have a direct link with Medata Road and Fulera for the convenience of the workers of this area. I would also like to request that Howrah train should be provided with a halt at Degana. Degana town is situated at the both side of Degana junction. There was a crossing on the railway line, however, it has been closed now. I would like to request that this facility should be restored at the earliest. Medata road junction, Degana junction, Makrana, Kuchayan and Nowa and Nagaur are the major stations where platforms need to be raised at the earliest. There is an urgent need of an over bridge on the line to connect North and South Makrana city. I would also like to request that all the main roads around the railway stations should be opened for the public. Also the Panchayat land in possession of the railway officers should be got evicted at the earliest.
SHRI RAMAKANT ANGLE : I congratulate the Railway Minister for a very progressive Budget. Rajdhani Express which runs from Delhi to Goa twice a week should run everyday. I would like to request the hon. Railway Minister to start a "Palace on Wheels" train connecting Kerala-Goa-Maharashtra. I would like to request the Railway Minister to raise platforms of Railway stations from Vasco to Collem. There are instances that many passengers especially women have fallen down while climbing and alighting and had fractures. Hope the Railway Minister will oblige my constituency people.
SHRI RATILAL KALIDAS VARMA : I congratulate this Government for making provisions for the public in the Railway Budget. Under my Parliamentary constituency, Viramgaon, Sanand, Dholka, Bawala, Dhandhuka, Ranpur, Botad and Dholajunctions are major railway stations. However, there are no reservation facilities for the passengers at these stations. I would like to request for providing reservation facilities at these stations. The gauge conversion between Surendernagar to Bhavnagar should be expedited. The villages under Bhavnagar and Rajkot divisions do not have manned crossings. I demand that gatekeepers should be deputed at such unmanned railway crossings. The passengers amenities in the local trains from Ahmedabad to Saurashtra are inadequate. Hence, I demand that the provisions should be made for the cleanliness of the compartments and supply of electricity and water as well as the safety and security of the passengers should be ensured in the trains. I also demand that computerised reservation facilities at earlier mentioned railway stations should be provided. The change in timings of the railways should be effected only after consulting the passengers associations and its office bearers. The incidents of thefts continue to take place in the railways. Hence, the railway officials at such stations where these incidents take place should be held responsible for any lapse at their part, so that these incidents could be minimised. I have been demanding construction of a subway at Bawla Railway station. Hence, it should be immediately constructed. I have also demanded that for the drainage of rain water near the mosque at Dholka railway station, the drainage pipe should be laid. The hon. Railway Minister is requested to direct the authorities concerned for the drainage of rain water and sewage disposal. Under my Parliamentary constituency, the water supply or telephone line projects are lying pending due to the ongoing construction of railway lines in a number of villages. Hence, the railway divisional manager should be directed to sanction and expedite the work. The railway travel has become the synonymous of marching ahead. Hence, it should help every passenger to reach their destinations with all comfort and facilities.
SHRI BHERULAL MEENA : It is regrettable that the birth place of Maharana Pratap is yet to be linked with the capital of the country with the broad gauge railway line. The South of Rajasthan comprising Udaipur, Dungarpur is dominated by more than 80 percent of the tribal population. I am sorry to say that these tribal dominant area is being discriminated against in the race of development. Large number of foreign tourists as well as domestic tourists visit Udaipur and Chittorgarh. However, the tourism and the industrial development is not getting the boost it deserves in want of broad-gauge railway line link. Hence, I request the Government to make provisions for the sufficient allocation for the broad guage conversion from Ajmer to Udaipur via Bhilwara and Chittorgarh so that the development of this tribal dominant area could be expedited.
SHRIMATI SANDHYA BAURI : I oppose the Railway Budget because this Budget is anti-people as well as anti-women. The Budget has been harsh for the common man. Both the passenger fare and freight has been enhanced causing great hardship for common man. It is unfortunate that the Railway Minister did not understand the ground reality and prepare this anti-people Budget. Out of total additional revenue sought to be realised 90 per cent will be raised from the pocket of the poor and the middle class. Now the project for West Bengal have been proposed only for the sake of declaration. The allocation sanctioned for the important project like Tamluk Digha is only Rs.20 crore whereas the money needed is to the tune of 52 crore. The same hold true for Panshkura Haldia project. The money needed in future for this project is 22 crore. BDR rail line comes under my constituency. Rs.123 crore is needed to complete this project. I urge upon the Railway Minister to increase amount for this project. This rail line must be expanded from Mukutmani via Bandoan to Tata. The rail track from Ranigunj to Durlabhapur should be expanded till Bankura. Over bridge or fly over is urgently needed at Vadul Mode and Notunchati. Subway is also needed at Bankura Station. Patna-Cochin Express and Patna-Poorie Express should run thrice a week. I request to provide a fast passenger train from Durgapur to Howrah so that the people have no difficulty to go to Howrah and do their work. Like Eastern Railway, monthly ticket till 250 km should also be introduced for South Eastern Railway. A second bridge on the river Kaurabati is also required. I also request for the same. So many times there is no electricity inside the compartment. The glasses of the window are broken. Moreover, there is water scarcity dirty toilets with stinking smell polluting the atmosphere have remained a regular feature in railway compartment. These are important issues. I hope the hon. Minister will take into account these issues in this year of passenger amenities year.
SHRI BRAHMA NAND MANDAL : I demand that the work of doubling of loop line from Keol to Kajra and Ratanpur to Jamalpur be undertaken, the loop line from Sahebganj to Keol be electrified, the work order for manufacturing 2300 horse power diesel engine be given to Jamalpur Rail Factory, Rs. 50 crore be given for construction of rail cum road bridge on Ganga river at Mungher in Bihar, Janshatabdi train be introduced from Sahebganj to Patna, a divisional headquarter be set up at Jamalpur. Further, the work order for manufacturing large, big and small parts to be given to Jamalpur Rail Factory and Bikramshila Express be halted at Dharhara station. For the first time, a rational strategy has been evolved in Railways. The development of Railways from Sahebganj to Keol is required.
SHRI VAIKO : I support the Railway Budget. I would request to the Minister to take into account the total route kilometres of metre-gauge by getting a Statewise break-up figures and also a need for conversion from metre-gauge to broad-gauge. I am thankful to the Minister of Railways. When he assumed the charge as Minister, most of the neglected projects were considered by him and sanctioned. Virudhunagar via Sengottai-Tenkasi to Quilon connects my State and Kerala. It is a major project. It is covering the pilgrim centre Shankaran Kovil-Tirunelvelli-Thenkasi-Tiruchendur. A sum of Rs. 257 crore was sanctioned for a track of the length of 357 Kms. Now it has escalated to Rs. 400 and odd crore. I know the constraints because the total allotment is Rs. 862 crore. There is a need for a sum of Rs. 12,000 to Rs. 13,000 crore to complete the project. Therefore, out of the Rs. 862 crore, this year he has allotted a sum of Rs. 25 crore.
This year, for Cuddalur-Salem, he has allotted a sum of Rs. 15 crore, for Tiruchirapalli-Nagoor Rs. 13 crore, for Virudhanagar-Kodaiyur Rs. 25 crore, for Madurai-Rameshwaram Rs. 5 crore. The Sethusamudram Canal project, a dream project of Tamil Nadu for more than 100 years, Rameshwaram will become a pivotal centre. So, it will serve both the purposes. Virudhnagar-via-Arappakotai to Manamadurai should be included for gauge conversion. I would request the hon. Railway Minister to allot more funds for this Madurai-Rameshwaram project.
I would appreciate and congratulate him for his keen interest to promote sports in the Railways. I would request the hon. Minister to consider, to introduce a Jan-Shatabadi Express train in our State of Tamil Nadu. I have to express my thanks for introducing additional express trains between Chennai-Egmore-Trivandrum via Nagarcoli and Nizamuddin-Kanyakumari. I thank the hon. Railway Minister for introducing a new train from Nizamuddin to Kanyakumari via Villupuram. I request him to kindly see that the important projects are completed within the shortest possible time. I thank the hon. Railway Minister for the best efforts he is trying to provide for Tamil Nadu.
SHRI AJIT KUMAR PANJA : This is the 150th year of the Railways. The hon. Minister has declared 2002-2003 as the `Passenger Amenities Year'- it is very much welcome. While the Railway Budget 2002-2003 has given a major thrust on expansion and safety, some questions are still not clear. I have found six missed priorities, areas of concern. They are low productivity; non-optimal capacity utilisation of assets; gradually declining share in the goods and passenger traffic in competition with the road transport; inadequacy of cost control and a strategic function; needs for structural changes; and need for perceiving Railways as a full-fledged commercial enterprise. Rationalisation of freight structure is a welcome direction. Simultaneously, passenger amenities need to be upgraded. The Minister has given emphasis on convenience. It is welcome. I feel that in this year, he will give a sense of changing direction from convenience to comfort. To give effect to our vision and imagination for increasing the passenger amenities, Rs. 200 crore will be too little for this vast country.
Resource mobilization is a major factor. There is a need for accelerated resource mobilization internally. Optimum exploitation of all the assets and resources including 6853 Railway Stations should be taken up as a major task during 2002-03. My appeal to the hon. Minister is, kindly form an expert group to go into this major point to identify resource sources and to draw up an actual action plan.
I am sure the Minister is aware of the ratio of goods carried by both road and rails. The condition has become 60:40. The Minister will take into consideration that in future there will be a stiff competition for the Railways in view of the golden quadrilateral for connecting four metropolitan cities by roads. Railways appear to have not given much thought for increasing their infrastructure rationally. The main recommendations of Rakesh Mohan Committee are to be given effect to.
Regarding commercialisation of the railway system, non-core activities of the railways should be given to private sector and core activities should be kept with the Railways with more emphasis on safety and better performance. Through an independent Central Corporation which will recommend the increase for the railway freight and goods and also fare for the tickets on the basis of proper commercialisation, this has to be done. So far this has been done successfully.
A double line is a must to start business with Bangladesh in a proper manner. Thirteen important projects have been given Rs. 1 crore each and four other projects have been given Rs. 1 lakh each, at random, without considering the public utility aspect. I could not find the reasons in the Budget for reductions in allocations for West Bengal.
Assam has not been properly dealt with. The eastern part has not been looked after properly. Immediate completion of the double line from Khurda to Puri is essential.
SHRI SHRIPRAKASH JAISWAL : Even a single demand of my Parliamentary Constituency has not been fulfilled. A superfast train from Kanpur to Delhi should be introduced. This will give relief to the people of Kanpur. There is a single track of 10 Kms. from Chandari to Kanpur on Delhi-Howrah double track. The old railway station of Kanpur should be renovated. If the track for the trains coming from Allahabd and going to Delhi is diverted to old railway station of Kanpur, the demand for construction of flyover there would not be made.
DR. A.D.K. JAYASEELAN : I support this Railway Budget. I congratulate our Railway Minister and his team for the wonderful work that they have done. The MPs and the people of Tamil Nadu are grateful to our Minister and his team. They have allocated considerable amount to us. They have also started one new train from Delhi to Kanyakumari, which is in my constituency. On behalf of my constituents, I thank our Minister. Tiruchendur-Tirunvelveli railway line is a very important one because Tiruchendur is a pilgrimage centre and lakhs of people are coming there. In Arumuganeri, the Dharangadhara Chemical Works is producing salt and caustic soda, and there are other industries producing other products. They are actually sending these products to various places in India. By transporting these products, our Railways can earn more than one crore rupees. Therefore, I urge upon the Railway Minister, to allocate more funds and complete the Tiruchendur-Tirunelveli Project.
PROF. I.G. SANADI : I would like to say something about South Central Railway Zone. Unfortunately the work allotted to this zone has not been completed. A meeting of the Railway Board had taken place in Hubli. A Railway zone was to be set up there but it has been shifted to Banglore. I request you to set up this zone here itself. There is a 100-year-old workshop in Hubli. It was decided to modernize this workshop by a special package of Rs.50 crore. I would like to draw you attention towards this scheme. You are going to implement some schemes in Karnataka with the assistance of the state government but the financial position of the state is same as that of the centre. Therefore, I request you to implement the schemes on 50:50 basis instead of one third or two third basis. This will help the State Government also. Chalukya Express runs four days a week from Mumbai to Banglore. I request you to run it daily. I request you to modernize Havery railway station and open computerized reservation centre there. There is an urgent need of a foot over bridge and a platform at Havery railway station.
SHRI VIJAY KUMR KHANDELWAL : I support the railway budget. Indian railways is one of the largest undertaking of the World. The Railway Minister has taken a strong measure by removing the cross subsidy. He had marginally increased the railway fare which will increase the income of the Government by Rs.910 crore. He has also rationalized the freight charges. I would like to draw your attention towards some of the suggestions. A number of passengers having unreserved ticket travel in the reserved compartment of Superfast and Mail Express trains. Therefore, the number of general bogies should be increased. An arrangement should be made wherein an information regarding the number of vacant seats in a particular bogey be furnished to the next station immediately after the train leaves the previous one so that passengers may get into those very compartment itself. I would like to draw your attention towards providing stoppages of some trains in stations of my parliamentary constituency. The stoppage of Jhelum Express running from Delhi to Pune may please be re-stored at Timarani railway station. Very few trains stop at Khirkia railway station. Stoppages of some of the trains should be provided there. Stoppage of Jayanti Janta Express and Lucknow-Chennai, Jaipur-Chennai and Tirupati-Varanasi be provided at Multai railway station.
SHRI DALPAT SINGH PARSTE : There is a need of following railway facilities in my parliamentary constituency Shahdol. Amarkantak Express running trice a week from Durg to Bhopal should run daily. The Shuttle passenger running between Chirmiri to Damoh should run for three day for Damoh and four days for Rewa. The timing of passenger train running between Bilaspur to Bhopal should be changed. Bombay-Howrah Express should run twice in a week via Katani- Bilaspur route. The railway track between Anooppur to Khodari Khonsara on Bilaspur route be doubled. The stoppage of Amarkantak Express be provided at Budhar of Shahdol district and Varsinghpur of Umaria district. A stoppage of Sambalpur-Nizamuddin Hirakund Express be provided at Umaria district headquarter. A stoppage of Puri Nizamuddin Utkal Express be provided at Jaithari of Shahdol district. A stoppage of Durg-Banaras Express, Sarnath be provided at Chadia of district Umaria. A stoppage of Indore-Bilaspur Narmada Express and Bilaspur-Bhopal passenger be provided at Ghunghuti. A stoppage of Shaktipunj Express be provided at Vijaysota. An iron overbridge be constructed at Jaithari, Bijuri, Kotma and Anooppur station of district Shahdol. Beautification of stations of big towns of Shahdol and Umaria districts be done and basic amenities be provided there and reservation facility for the express trains be made available there.
SHRI SHRICHAND KIRPLANI : I would like to draw the attention of the Minister of Railways on the following problems of my parliamentary constituency. Kota-Nizamuddin Jan Shatabdi Express should be extended to Neemuch or Chittorgarh. A train should be introduced on Kota-Chittorgarh-Neemuch broad gauge line. A survey of Badi Sadari to Neemuch Rail line via Chhoti Sadri be conducted and a new railway line should be sanctioned. A direct train from Kota to Jaipur should be introduced. Two coaches for Dehradun in Agra Fort train may please be attached. A stoppage of Chittorgarh-Ajmer train be provided at Gangrar station. Sanction should be given to the new rail line between Doongarpur-Nimbaheda and Doongarpur to Ratlam. A new rail line should be laid from Neemuch to Pratapgarh, Banswara, and Lunawara Mumbai. All the trains passing through Ramganj Mandi Modak railway station be allowed a stoppage there. A stoppage of Chetak and Meenakshi passenger train be provided at Chanderia railway station. In the memory of 2600th Janma Kalyan of Bhagwan Mahavir Swami an important train of the country should be named as Bhagwan Mahavir-Ahimsa Express. Similarly in the memory of Maharana Pratap also a train should be named as Maharana Pratap Express. In the memory of the famous pilgrimage of Mewar Shri Sawanlia ji Mandir an important train of the country should be named as Shri Sawanlia Express. The modernization work of Nimbaheda railway station should be started immediately. Facility of reservation be provided in Chetak Express. A new express train should be introduced from Neemuch to Lucknow or Gorakhpur. A superfast express for Delhi should be introduced from Udaipur, Chittorgarh, and Bhilwara, via Ajmer on Jaipur meter gauge line.
SHRI RATTAN LAL KATARIA : The way India is emerging, as a Super Power of the World there is a need to make the Indian Railways more competitive in comparison to the railway system of Europe and other developed nations. I would like to submit that there is need to properly utilize lakhs of hectare of barren land of the railways. I demand that the posts of Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes lying vacant since long be filled immediately and roster system be introduced. There is a need to modernize the divisional office of railways situated in my parliamentary constituency. I demand to introduce trains from Ambala station also. A stoppage of Jansewa Express be provided at Jagadhari and the stoppage of Swarn Shatabdi Delhi Amritsar Express be provided at Ambala station. I demand that all the pending railway projects be completed immediately and a provision in this regard be made in the Budget.
SHRI RAM NARESH TRIPATHEE : I congratulate the hon. Minister of Railways for presenting a balanced Budget. The proposed Ramtek (South-Eastern Railways) to Shridham (Central Railways) is an important rail line. The estimates of field survey of this new broad gauge line has been completed. The construction of this new rail line will decrease the distance from North to South by 400 kms. The primary engineering cum transport survey of Chhindwara-Sivni-Nainpur rail line in Madhya Pradesh is already sanctioned. I hope that the Government will ensure the development of this backward region by providing funds to this gauge conversion. Jabalpur, Patan, Damoh, Tikamgarh, Lalitpur new broad gauge rail line connects Jabalpur directly to Delhi which will benefit the other States also. A railway over bridge needs to be constructed on National Highway No.12 at Mirauni Shahpur in Jabalpur district. The long pending demand of computerised reservation centre in district Sivni, Madhya Pradesh needs to be fulfilled soon. Providing stoppage to Rajkot Express at Shridham Station in Narsinghpur district is very necessary. Likewise, Gondwana Express and Jabalpur Nizamuddin Express should be stopped at Mathura and its departure time from Nizamuddin should be rescheduled. A local train from Shahpura-Bhitauni to Katni in Jabalpur should be introduced which will benefit the rail users.
SHRI KISHAN SINGH SANGWAN : Keeping in mind the interest of the poor people, a progressive Budget has been presented. But the people of Haryana are agitating because so far as railway is concerned, Haryana has been totally neglected. In view of increasing demands of people, a transparent formula has been presented in the Budget speech through which, funds will be allotted to new projects. For this three criteria have been adopted. I would like to know from the hon. Minister whether any project has been given to Haryana on the basis of above formula. I would like to tell you about my demands which I have been raising time and again.
New rail line should be constructed from Jind to Sonepat, Rohtak-Jhajhar-Rewari, Jhajhar-Bahadurgarh, Rohtak-Hissar via Mahat, Jhansi; Panipat-Meerut.
Road over-bridges should be constructed at Gannaur-(Sonepat); Sonepat, over Sonepat-Gohana Road, Bahadurgarh over Bahadurgarh-Kanonda Road; Rohtak over Rohtak-Bypass, Gohana over Gohana-Jind Road.
Delhi-Rohtak-Bhatinda rail line should be doubled and the electrification of Delhi-Rohtak Jind rail line should be undertaken in first phase.
Ekta Express should be run independently and it should be de-linked from other trains. The proposed trains (Janashatabdi) in the present Budget should be stopped at Panipat and Sonepat. Pathankot-Delhi (Janashatabdi) should be stopped at Jind, Rohtak and Bahadurgarh. Shane-Punjab and Puja Express should be stopped at Sonepat. 4517 UP and 4548 DN Unchahar Express Trains should be stopped at Gannaur (Sonepat). Jammu Mail and Jhelam trains stopped one side only. These should be stopped both sides. All the Express and Mail trains should be stopped at Bahadurgarh and Asoda on Rohtak Delhi section. New Delhi Srinagar Express should be stopped at Julana(Jind). Delhi-Rohtak train should be extended up to either Jind or Gohana.
A new EMU train Sonepat-Delhi should be introduced. A passenger train should be introduced from Gohana to Nizamuddin via Rohtak, Delhi in the morning and Nizamuddin to Gohana in the evening. A new train from Jind to Panipat on Jind-Panipat section should be introduced in the morning and an additional train from Panipat to Jind should also be run.
A halt is needed at Lakhan-Mazara (Rohtak-Jind section) and at village Sarsadh (Rohtak-Panipat Section). The station building of village Bhainswan Khurd (Rohtak-Panipat Section) has become dilapidated. Therefore, a new station building should be constructed. A bridge should be constructed at village Ramkali over Ramkali minor (Rohtak-Jindh) section. I also demand that National Capital Region of Delhi should be made sub-urban division.
SHRI SAIDUZZAMA : There is biggest Gurmandi of Asia in my Parliamentary constituency, Muzaffarnagar. It is also a gateway for the religious place of Haridwar. Therefore, I demand that railway track of Muzaffarnagar-Meerut section should be doubled.
SHRI SHEESH RAM SINGH RAVI : The railway has registered all round development under the leadership of the hon. Minister. But I would like to attract the Ministers attention towards increasing unemployment due to curtailment of railway employees. The appointments of higher officers of railways should be made through direct recruitment instead of through promotion. The increase in railway fare has directly affected the poor people. Therefore, I demand roll-back of fare increase. While inaugurating a bridge over Ganga river at Balavali in my Parliamentary constituency, the then Railway Minister, Bahen Mamata Banerjee had announced to get the reservation centre at Najibabad railway station computerised and convert the old railway bridge at Balavali over Ganga bridge into road bridge. But none of the said works could be completed. The Express trains from Delhi to Dehradun should be run via Ghaziabad, Gajraula, Chandpur, Bijnaur, Najibabad and Dehradun. Likewise, Janashatabdi from Delhi is likely to be run from April should have been routed through Ghaziabad, Gajraula, Chandpur, Bijnaur, Najibabad, Haridwar and Dehradun. People of Bijnaur demand that five coach shuttle-trains from Bijnaur to Delhi should be run twice a day. Daranagar Ganj is still deprived of trains. The construction of rail line up to this place should be taken up in this Budget only.
SHRI DILIPKUMAR MANSUKHLAL GANDHI : Without the development of rail transport, the development of any region is not possible. So far as Railway is concerned, Ahmednagar Parliamentary constituency has been neglected. People were expecting a fixed time limit in the Budget for the doubling of Daund-Manmad line and survey for electrification. Likewise, devotees have been demanding for quite a long time, a new train (Sai-Express). The farmers of Shri Gonda Khanduri Kopargaon area produce good quantity of fruits and vegetables. If they get railway facility, they can get remunerative price for their produce. Mumbai-Manmad via Ahmednagar train which used to be run, should be run again. The construction of a crossing bridge at Loni Vyankanath at Daund-Manmad rail line has not been started yet. A survey of Belapur-Newasa-Shevgaon-Parli rail line was conducted during British period, it should be surveyed again. The work at Bid station is in progress. It should be provided enough funds to get it completed. There is neither gate nor any railway employee at several level crossings in my Parliamentary constituency, which leads to accidents. Railway employee should be deputed on such crossings. I request the Government to provide enough funds to develop Ahmednagar into an ideal station. At present, Swaran Jayanti Express runs weekly between Mysore and Hazrat-Nizamuddin. It should be run tri-weekly.
THE MINISTER OF RAILWAYS (SHRI NITISH KUMAR) replying to the discussion, said : I want to express my grief over the Godhra incident in which some passengers were burnt to death. The RPF jawans posted at Godhra station acted with extreme bravery.
Some hon. Members have said that passenger fares have been increased and that this increment has been done only on ordinary or sleeper classes and that people belonging to higher echelons have been spared. This is wrong. While referring to these proposals in my Budget speech, I mentioned that we are going in for rationalisation. The minimum fare of Rs.3/- of ordinary classes has been increased to Rs.4/-. The minimum second class fare of Mail or Express trains which used to be Rs.15/- has been increased only up to Rs.16/-. All these provide a scope to relativity and that is why, all the classes have been burdened a bit. I want to clarify that it is not true that the fare of ordinary classes has been increased and the rest have been spared. Some Members have got confused over goods tariff. In fact whatever we earned through goods tariff is used for compensating the losses incurred in the revenue of passenger tariff. Consequently, railway traffic is shifting towards roadways. The railways are spending a lot on cheap commodities being transported by it. No one compensates the loss. It is railways only which do so internally by their own earnings.
The position is that for the last 8-10 years the railways are not able to save that much amount from their earnings which may help towards the renovation of tracks, coaches, wagons, engines and signal-gears. So many distress bridges have to be replaced and renovated. It was decided in a meeting with the hon. Prime Minister to form a special railway safety fund of Rs.17000 crores. We have prepared a green book after earmarking the jobs. This fund shall include the surcharge collected from the employees and additional grants received from the Government of India. It is time now to assess things. The position is that if the railways do not mobilise their own resources, the situation can worsen. The operating ratio in 2001-2002 was assumed to be 98.8 per cent. There has been improvement in it. This revised estimate may be 96.6 percent now. That is why, we shall have to realise that the Railways have to boost their earnings. There are different projects in different States. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has decided not to include any scheme in the Budget until the required approval is obtained. Every time we try to get approval for more and more projects.
Although the railways do not allot funds on State basis, complaints are always there that a particular place has been given weightage, while some other State has been neglected. We have formed a transparent formula. We have to complete the projects. We have to consider as to how much funds are required to complete the projects of new railway lines, gauge conversion, doubling and railway electrification in the entire country and also the projects in the concerned States. We broke it up in three parts i.e. 15 per cent to population, 15 per cent to area and 70 per cent to the scheme. We get budgetary support and about 70 per cent of this budgetary support goes in these four projects. If this formula is not right, then the old formula of adhoc-ism can also be adopted. However, I on my own part have tried to act honestly.
Some Members talked of Rail Neer. The issue of Rail Neer had come before us in the form of a question in the Parliament regarding purity of bottled water. We collected figures from all zonal railways. Tests were conducted and most of the samples were found sub-standard. We thought that the Railways should take responsibility on itself. It shall, firstly lead to profit and secondly we shall have to provide guarantee regarding quality.
Now secondly, as for power, we had a meeting with Energy Minister. He suggested that NTPC and Railways should set up power plants as joint ventures. As such, in view of all these, an MoU was signed. We are still keeping liaison with State Electricity Boards. An MoU has been signed. Now a Project Committee has been formed. They shall ensure how things are to be managed. We have taken a number of steps to increase income. The work on Rail-Tel is going on vigorously. Railways have 51 per cent equity stake in Railway Rail-Tel. In addition, the Railways are transferring their assets. The work on Rail-Tel is in progress. At present, there is a pro-tem board. Some concern has been shown regarding privatisation. The Standing Committee on Railways recommended to take those railway lines on concessioning which are incurring losses. We have directed that there should be an Expert Committee of Executive Directors in the Railway Board. Let it be in touch with each zone and division and find out as to why these lines are incurring losses. People working in field only know as to how these losses can be covered. We have paid full attention to the safety issue. As for expansion, we have aimed at 5000 kms broad-gauge to be added in our network during the Tenth Plan. We want that goods trains too should run at a speed of 100 kms. There should be railway track structure and bridges so as to carry high-axle load. We are forming schemes for their upgradation.
Our endeavour is to improve the economy position of the Railways and seek increase in Budgetary assistance to the projects. There has been some increase in Budgetary assistance. We are trying to further it so that expansion work may pick up. We have got some fund for Jammu and Kashmir. The Defence Ministry has provided us some funds for some strategic lines. We shall do marketing with our additional bank finance and thereby earn money. We are fully trying to ensure that people should get all amenities and by all ways, we are going to boost tourism in this 150th year of Railways. This programme shall start from 16th April. That is why, we have declared this year as Passenger Amenity Year and we shall ensure increasing passenger amenities. For the first time, refrigerated parcel vans are being fabricated so as to carry perishable fruits and vegetables of the farmers. The farmers shall get better prices for their produces.
I understand, the House may agree with me that integration in this country is highly needed for running the Railways. As far as I have been able to understand the Railways, we cannot privatise it. The Railway is the strategic sector and participation of private sector has been provided for at different points in the railways. The catering job is 15 per cent departmental and rest of 85 per cent work is already in the hands of contractors.
It has been said that salt tax has been increased. Why has it been done so? The Railway wagons get to decay by carrying salt. Then the track is also affected by salt. So these are regularly washed. That is why, the Railways incur loss. Even then, we kept salt at the old minimum class of 90. We have taken figures from the Salt Commission in this regard. A number of hon. Members have said that the prices of commodities like sugar etc. shall increase. Now, Members say that tracks should be laid and amenities be provided and now, where from money shall come for all these. We do not get any subsidy for all these. The Railways do all this on their own. I request you to support our act of rationalisation.
Today, we have tried to bring computerised railway reservation up to district headquarters. In addition, we are running some more trains from important stations. Janashatabdi has been introduced. This shall contain non-AC second class compartments running with Shatabdi speed. The common man shall get food in it at a very low rate. I come from that place, where Gautam Budha had got enlightenment. He had taught us the middle path. As such, we cannot go to extremes.
All the Demands for Grants on Account of (Railways) were voted in full.
All the Supplementary Demands for Grants (Railways) were voted in full.
APPROPRIATION (RAILWAYS) VOTE ON ACCOUNT BILL, 2002
The Bill was passed
APPROPRIATION (RAILWAYS) BILL, 2002
The Bill was passed
© 2002 BY LOK SABHA SECRETARIAT
NOTE: It is the verbatim Debates of the Lok Sabha and not the Synopsis that should be considered authoritative.