Trade, industry welcome Rail Budget | india | Hindustan Times
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Trade, industry welcome Rail Budget

STATE TRADE and Industry heaved a sigh of relief on Friday as the Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav spared general freight rates in his third Railway Budget.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2006 01:52 IST

STATE TRADE and Industry heaved a sigh of relief on Friday as the Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav spared general freight rates in his third Railway Budget.

However, the industry wondered if the oil companies would pass on the benefit of 8 per cent lowering of petrol and diesel freight rates announced in the Railway Budget to the consumers.

“The Railway Minister has improved upon what his predecessor Nitish Kumar announced in his Railway Budget during the NDA rule,” said Sudhakar Tiwari, Convenor of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI), UP.

The decision to spare freight rates was a welcome move. The other favourable announcement was 30 per cent rebate on the freight rates to private parties for achieving higher traffic than the minimum prescribed by the Railway Ministry,” he said.

Tarun Khetrapal, president, Indian Industries Association (IIA), lauded the announcement on public-private partnership to extend the railway network and allow the private companies to run container trains.

“We still feel that the general freight rates should have been brought down. Moreover, the 8 per cent reduction in freight rates on petrol and diesel has no meaning unless the benefit is passed on, by the oil companies, to the consumers,” D S Verma, Executive Director, IIA, commented.

S B Agarwal, Secretary General of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASOCHAM), UP, said the Budget would help promote public-private partnership for expanding the railway network and running of trains with private containers.

While the cut in the AC I and II fares was a welcome development, the government had done the right thing by not touching the sleeper class fares.

G S Agarwal, Convenor of Lucknow Petrol Dealers Association said the lowering of freight rates on petrol and diesel would make no impact on the petroleum business as oil companies themselves were suffering losses.

A long pending demand of the Avadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry on starting a Lucknow— Pune train had been conceded by the Railway Ministry.

This new train would help many students from Pune who are studying in Lucknow. The lowering of freight rates on petrol and diesel was a welcome move but from where the government would bring money to compensate for the 8 per cent reduction in freight rates? he asked.

Meanwhile, Anjali Dubey, a housewife, residing in Alambagh, reacted said the sleeper class fares should have been lowered.

Narendra Gujral, resident of Ashiana, hailed the Budget saying it was rare that the first class passengers are spared. He said conditions of the coaches should be improved. “Despite paying heavy fare, we do not get satisfactory service,” he lamented.

Hemant Kalra, an entrepreneur said there was no scope for the Railway Minister to further increase the fare for AC I and II. “Had he increased the fare, the people would have preferred air to train travel,” he said.

Manoj Srivastava, a student welcomed the budget. However, he hoped that the facilities for the sleeper class and the general coach should be increased.

“I’m disappointed about the fact that this year, too, Railway Minister Lalu Yadav did not make any announcement of laying double line on the Lucknow-Varanasi route. Non-availability of double track on this route hampers the normal traffic which causes great inconvenience to the passengers, said Archana Sen, a housewife.

Nikita, a student, reacted to the Railway Budget saying, “The Railway Minister has announced a number of sops and facilities to the passengers but what measures have been taken for women’s security on trains. Railways must beef up the security to an extent that the women may travel without fear.”