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Mamata to meet PM tomorrow with wishlist

india Updated: Jun 24, 2009 21:57 IST

Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday during which she is likely to discuss Rail Budget proposals.

Banerjee, who arrived in the Capital from Kolkata on Wednesday, had a series of meetings with Railway Board officials
to finalise budget, to be tabled in Parliament on July 3.

Sources said she is likely to seek approval of the Prime Minister for several sops she wants to give to passengers.

Banerjee also met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia to discuss the proposals.

While she has already announced launching of a Rs 20 monthly pass scheme for vendors and students, it is expected
that the passenger fare will remain untouched in the budget.

She has consistently maintained that railways have two sides - commercial and human. "All our moves should not be
commercially oriented," she said.

However, Indian Railways is facing a tough time with the slow growth in freight loadings due to slowdown. The operating ratio is also likely to go up from the current 78 per cent to more than 90 per cent due to the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.