Rail Budget to be passenger-friendly: Mamata

New Delhi: After giving finishing touches to the Rail Budget, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said it will be a "passenger-friendly budget" dedicated to the common man of the country.

Rail Budget 2011-12 will be presented in Parliament tomorrow.

Without revealing any budget details, she said: "It will be people-friendly, passenger-friendly and country- friendly budget."

Speculations are rife that the budget may see some marginal increase in upper class AC fare with sleeper class fare remaining untouched.

Keeping the passengers` complaints in mind, the budget is likely to propose a slew of passenger-friendly measures like setting up of more Janahaar outlets at stations to provide quality food at reasonable rates.

The budget could also find mention of mega base kitchens in the metros preparing 50,000 to 1 lakh meals per day for train passengers. This would be managed by railway itself as per the new catering policy, sources said.

The budget could also announce launching off a new SMS-based service to lodge complaints against rail service by passengers.

In order to provide clean linens to passengers, Railways are likley to announce setting up of mechanised laundry service at zonal levels.

The Rail Budget is likley to announce introduction of about 100 new trains including a dozen super fast Durontos.

The Budget comes at a time when the Railways are facing financial crunch with its operating ratio inching close to 100 level mark. "So there will be a few measures for generation of more internal resources," sources said.

Mamata, facing Assembly elections in West Bengal in two months, could also announce a slew of projects for her state, including a rail link connecting the busy Howrah and Sealdah stations running through the densely populated central districts of Kolkata.

In order to promote cultural activities, Railways are also planning to construct auditorium in Kharagpur, Jalpaiguri and Jabalpur.

Catering to the student community, she could also announce running of student special trains keeping in mind the travel requirement during examinations and trains with only bookings under Tatkal scheme.