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Tuesday, Feb 03, 2004

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Railway budget

Sir, — The mini rail budget 2004 is an election budget. Hope there will be no extra burden after the elections. But it is no use introducing more trains unless their speed is also increased. Any number of Rajdhanis and Shatabdis will be rendered futile unless the travelling time of passengers is reduced. Attention should also be paid to accommodation of transit passengers. The number of Rail Yatri Niwases should be increased.

Mahesh Kapasi,
New Delhi

* * *

Sir, — The launch of the Sampark Kranti Express needs to be lauded. These trains will provide quicker and better connectivity between State capitals and Delhi, and will have non-stop runs. One of the proposed trains, Poorvottar Sampark Kranti Express, which will run between Guwahati and New Delhi, will solve a longstanding demand of the passengers of the Northeast. The passengers from this region suffer a lot, especially while passing through States such as Bihar where hordes of short-distance passengers enter the reserved compartments without tickets.

Rupakjyoti Borah,
New Delhi

* * *

Sir, — Nitish Kumar's interim railway budget is designed to boost the so-called `feel good factor' that the BJP-led NDA seems to be revelling in. It is a known fact that our Railways is paralysed financially. The rail budget has not proposed anything to improve its financial status. The public amenities are in a mess in our existing trains, railway maintenance leaves much to be desired and there are quite a number of projects that need immediate action.

K. Chidanand Kumar,
Bangalore

* * *

Sir, — The BJP claims that the interim rail budget and steps taken to strengthen the railway network without hiking the fares (a substantial increase in the domestic price of diesel notwithstanding) will enhance the `feel good factor'. However, implementation of several announced projects as well as the years of neglect of railway safety and the installation of anti-collision devices have taken a backseat.

K. Rangarajan,
Mumbai

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