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Now passengers can book rail ticket 4 months in advance

New Delhi: Railway Budget presented today in Parliament proposed measures to make Indian Railways prime mover of Indian Economy once again. It seeks resource mobilization for higher investment, decongestion of heavy haul routes and speeding of trains and project delivery, better passenger amenities and safety, and to make railways a preferred mode of transport for masses. Presenting the Budget in Parliament, Railway Minister, Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said that all critical initiatives proposed will be pursued in mission mode. The Budget proposals have set four goals to transform Indian Railways over next five years which are- a sustainable and measurable improvement in customer experience,  make rail a safer means of travel, expansion of capacity substantially , modernization of infrastructure and finally to make railways financially self-sustainable. To achieve these goals the budget proposes five drivers which include adopting a medium-term perspective plan consisting of White Paper, a Vision-2030 document and a five year action plan. Building Partnerships with key stakeholders for long term financing and overseas technology, improving last mile connectivity, expanding fleet of rolling stock and modernization of station infrastructure are included in these drivers. Railways will also leverage additional resources; envisages investment of Rs. 8.5 lakh crore in next five years. Now passengers will be able to book rail ticket four months in advance instead of two months at present. In his Budget speech in Lok Sabha, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today said advance reservation period has been extended from 60 days at present to 120 days to check the rising menace of touts. Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha told reporters later that it will come into force in the next fortnight. Now, 200 more stations to come under Adarsh Station scheme; Wi - Fi to be provided at B category stations; facility of self-operated lockers will be available at stations. Passenger capacity in identified trains will be augmented; more General class coaches will be added in identified trains. The Railways has also approached NID to design user friendly ladders for climbing upper berths. It has also proposed more quota of lower berths for senior citizens. TTEs will now be instructed to help senior citizens, pregnant women and differently-abled persons in obtaining lower berths; middle bay of coaches to be reserved for women and senior citizen.  Provision of Rs. 120 crore has been made for Lifts and escalator; newly manufactured coaches will now be Braille enabled; building wider entrances for the ease of differently-abled passengers; allocation for passenger amenities up by 67%. As per the Budget proposal, the speed of 9 railway corridors will  be increased from existing 110 and 130 kmph to 160 and 200 kmph respectively so that inter-metro journeys like Delhi-Kolkata and Delhi-Mumbai can be completed overnight. Average speed of freight trains in empty and loaded conditions, will be enhanced to 100 kmph for empty freight trains and 75 kmph for loaded trains.

About Sanjay Trivedi

Sanjay Trivedi is honorary editor of Asia Times. He is senior Indian Journalist having vast experience of 25 years. He worked in Janmabhoomi, Vyapar, Divya Bhaskar etc. newspapers and TV9 Channel as well as www.news4education.com. He also served as Media Officer in Gujarat Technological University.

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