Mamata rains sops on West Bengal in her Railway budget


Kolkata : Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee rolled out her “please all” budget Friday, making a large number of proposals ahead of the 2011 assembly elections in West Bengal.

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People in the two biggest stations of the state – Howrah and Sealdah – are all smiles. Jubilant crowds were seen everywhere.

“I am very happy because she wants to introduce a non-stop train connecting Kolkata-Mumbai. This will be very helpful for the people who to travel between the two cities often,” Krishanu Das, 25, an engineer from the state now working in Mumbai, told IANS over phone.

Banerjee talked about introducing 12 non-stop trains, of which the state has received four, the maximum number bagged by any state.

The state also managed to get the maximum share of projects in almost all the sections of the proposals.

“We are delighted at her announcement of giving monthly tickets for Rs.25 for travelling 100 km,” said Nitya Chatterjee, a daily wage earner who travels from the outskirts to the city everyday.

Among the total 50 stations that would be developed into world class ones cross the country, Banerjee included five – Howrah, Sealdah, Kolkata, New Jalpaiguri and Majerhat – from the state.

The state would get the highest numbers of ‘Adarsh stations’ also. She announced developing 375 ‘Adarsh Stations’ during the year 2009-10 with basic facilities such as drinking water, adequate toilets, catering services, waiting rooms etc. These stations will also have dormitories, especially for women passengers, better signages and other basic facilities.

“Good that she took up the toilet issue. It’s very important. Hope things start working in that direction fast,” Reba Basu, a former teacher, told IANS.

The budget also envisages introducing toilets in local trains, where journey is of at least two hours keeping in view the problems faced by women, children and elderly people.

Banerjee tried to give a Midas touch to every part of the state and did not leave any district. She even announced 1,000 megawatt captive power plant to be set up in Andra in backward Purulia district.