Press Trust of India, February 24, 2010 (New Delhi)
India Inc on Wednesday welcomed the Railway Budget for sparing freight and passenger fares from any hike and said that it also provided opportunities for private sector to participate in the world's fifth largest transport network.
"I think it provides for much bigger involvement of the private sector...it is welcome," FICCI President Harsh Pati Singhania said.
Assocham described it as "people and industry friendly" since there is no increase in passenger and freight rates.
Presenting the Railway Budget for 2010-11, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee asked business houses to build partnerships with Railways that employs about 14 lakh people.
A special task force will be set up for early clearance of projects, Banerjee said, adding that Railways will start six water bottling plants in places like Ambala, Farakka, Nasik, Thiruvananthapuram and Amethi to provide clean and cheap drinking water to passengers.
Railways would also develop 10 automobile hubs, she said.
CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said: "It is our belief that this would give the right signals to investors in India and abroad to look at Indian Railways in a new light."
However, Assocham President Swati Piramal said: "A clear roadmap for seeking private partnership in railways for its modernisation and expansion should have been rolled out."
Federation of Indian Mineral Industry Secretary General R K Sharma too termed the Budget as "positive".