Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu faces a stiff dilemma on whether to raise fares and freight rates in his second Rail Budget Thursday as railway finances come under tremendous strain.
Here are 10 most expected announcements that the Railway Minister is likely to make today.
- As elections are round the corner in four states and diesel price is on the downslide, a section in Railway Ministry does not favour any hike in passenger fares.
- While announcement of new trains is unlikely for the second consecutive year, new service will be launched selectively to cater to the local requirement and demands.
- A scheme for premium high-speed parcel trains is slated to be unveiled in the budget.
- Continuing with 'Swachh Bharat' drive, Prabhu is also likely to announce plans for installation of bio-toilets and vacuum toilets in as many trains and placing dustbins in every coach.
- Prabhu will make some announcements promising better passenger amenities and incentivise freight business.
- In suburban section, the Rail Budget will announce introduction of AC suburban trains in Mumbai, which will be replicated in other areas as well.
- Introduction of dual mode engine to enable the train to run both on diesel and electricity is likley to be announced in the budget.
- Prabhu might take call on whether to impose safety cess for strengthening safety measures to prevent accidents.
- Upgradation of existing coaches with modern facilities and improved interiors are being planned in a big way to run trains on higher fares like the recently launched Mahamana Express between New Delhi and Varanasi.
- A significant amount will be earmarked for safety upgradation, electrification, doubling and modernisation of yards to clear traffic bottlenecks.