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Posted on Feb 26, 12:32PM | IBNS
New Delhi, Feb 26 : The Allahabad stampede that killed many Maha Kumbh pilgrims this month has shaken the railway and so more contingency plans are afoot, said Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal as he began presenting the Railway Budget 2013-14.
"I am pained by the Allahabad incident," Bansal said adding that it has shaken him and he proposed higher level of contingency arrangement.
Safety is a necessary mandate for running train, he said.
He claimed there has been a significant reduction of train accidents.
He said another eight units of RPF will be set up for women protection from the existing four.
He said RPF personnel will be strengthened.
Security helpline numbers in few zonal railways are there, he said.
He said there would be bio-toilets on trains and cleanliness will be priority.
Bansal said passenger trains has increased from 8000 in 2001 to over 12000 in 2012 in number but losses continue to rise. It is estimated to be Rs 24,000 cr in 2012-13, he said.
Amid expectations of better facilities and safety, Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Tuesday began presenting the Railway Budget at noon and the big question is if the minister will raise the fare on an election year.
"Scarcity of resources continues to star us," he said after beginning his budget speech.
The Minister smiled a journalists in the morning but did not say if he would hike the fares though there are widespread speculations that a hike is inevitable to run the railway properly.
Women safety is of prime concern too with his wife too demanding a helpline for women in distress while travelling.
While a hike in railway fares has been the big questions and many say it is necessity to bring back the services on the track, passengers across India said they want better railway facilities.
"We are ready to pay a little extra fare for safety, and cleanliness and improvement in food quality," said 35-year-old Raju Verma, a railway passenger at New Delhi station who arrived from Kolkata.
Diesel price hike in recent times put additional burden on the railway.
Last time the fare was hiked was on Jan 22 to offset the possible Rs 24,000 crore loss in the current financial year.
Media reports said the Railway had targetted to earn additional revenue of Rs 6600 crore in the 2012-13 year but owing to fuel price hike much of the revenue was consumed.