RAIL BUDGET SURPLUS
The Railway Budget for 1978-79 envisages a surplus of Rs 65.43 crore without any increase in the fare and freight structure. This is the second successive surplus Railway Budget presented by the Janata government without any revision in tariff. Railway Minister Madhu Dandavate outlined steps to ensure comfortable travel for second class passengers.
These would help the Railways achieve the ultimate objective of having predominantly one type of accommodation in long distance trains. This would mean gradual doing away with different classes on the Railways, Dandavate added. The promised amenities for second class passengers include cushioned seats and “Janata Khana” to provide cheaper meals.
The Railways would sell one rupee food packets on all major long distance trains. To curb malpractices in reservations and to eliminate corruption, Dandavate said that it has been decided that only women will be appointed as reservation clerks and supervisors in the major booking offices.
MORE FOR II CLASS
Second class passengers on the fast inter-city services will now be provided with cushioned seats. This is one of the steps to make travel more comfortable in second class. It has already been decided to provide second class sleeper coaches with cushioned berths. About 400 such coaches will be manufactured in 1978-79 to be put on fast express trains. Besides, cushioned berths and backrests, additional amenities on these coaches include provision of tinted window glass to prevent glare, additional racks for meal-trays, space for keeping potable drinking water containers and provisions for supply of linen and to passengers on demand.
Work on the first phase of the Konkan Railway will be taken up in the coming financial year, the Railway Budget stated. To begin with a new line from Apta to Roha will be laid.