The Lok Sabha passed the Interim Rail Budget for 2009-10 on Thursday with Railway Minister Lalu Prasad announcing a few more new trains and outlining plans to step up security in view of terror threats.
The Rs 10,807 crore budget for implementation of Sixth Pay Commission recommendations and to fund various ongoing projects was passed by a voice vote.
Replying to the debate on the last budget presented by him, Prasad rejected the opposition charge that fares were being hiked through the "backdoor", claiming that in the past five years, fares on all classes were lowered, inspite of which the Railways earned a cash surplus of Rs 90,000 crore.
Some members were not satisfied with the budget. The BJD members walked out alleging that Orissa had been ignored.
Prasad said budgetary support to the Railways had declined from 53 per cent to 29 per cent since 2004 and it was investing over Rs 20,000 crore out of its internal resources to fund its projects.
In 2004, when the UPA came to power, Rs 13,000 crore was invested on various projects. Now that has gone up to Rs 37,000 crore despite a fall in the budgetary support.
On the safety front, Prasad said the number of accidents had come down from over 400 in 2004 to 195 last year.