By Preet Kiran
New Delhi, Feb 5 (IANS): Uttar Pradesh has got the lion's share - Rs 17,507 crore from Rs 2.4 lakh crore allocated to the Railways in the Union Budget 2023-24. This time, the Centre has announced a budget of Rs 2.4 lakh crore for the Railways. In this, Rs 75,000 crore will be spent for new schemes.
According to Indian Railways, this time the budget allocation has been the highest in the history. In 2013-14, Rs 28,174 crore came in the share of Railways. After this, Rs 1,59,100 crore has been received in 2022-23 and now Rs 2,40,000 crore has been received in this financial year 2023-24.
According to Railways, this is almost 9 times increase from 2013-14 and 51 per cent increase from 2022-23. On the other hand, state-wise, there has been a 26-fold increase in the maximum budget received by the National Capital Region ie Delhi. That is, in 2013-14, Delhi had received a budget of Rs 96 crore and this time a budget of Rs 2477 crore has been allocated. Similarly, Punjab has got 21 times more railway budget. After this, Uttar Pradesh has got 16 times more budget and Gujarat has got 14 times more budget.
According to Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, in the Rail Budget 2023-24, Uttar Pradesh will get Rs 17,507 crore, Madhya Pradesh Rs 13,607 crore, Rajasthan Rs 9532 crore, Uttarakhand Rs 5400 crore, Punjab Rs 4762 crore, Delhi Rs 2477 crore, Haryana Rs 2247 crore, Himachal Pradesh Rs 1838 crore, Rajasthan Rs 9532 crore, Bihar Rs 8505 crore and Chandigarh Rs 452 crore.
In the election year, the entire emphasis of the Railways will be on the development of infrastructure, and to bring high speed trains back on track at the earliest. Of these, money will be spent on mainly green train i.e. hydrogen train, green energy, tourism, high speed train and important corridors.
Modernization: In the budget, it has been announced to further improve the coaches of trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto. The Railways is planning to refurbish more than 1,000 coaches of these premier trains. The interiors of these coaches will be modernized and passenger comfort will be improved. According to Railways, Rs 51,510 crore will be spent for rolling stock production.
Railway Track Improvement: Significant allocations will be made for replacement of old tracks. This will help to speed up trains and in start of high-speed trains for more places. An amount of Rs 17,296 crore has been allocated for track renewal. Also, according to the information given by the ministry, out of the total budget allocated to Railway, Rs 39,660 crore will be spent on laying the new line, Rs 30,749 crore will be spent on doubling the line and Rs 4,600 crore has been allotted for gauge conversion.
Green train: The construction of the country's first hydrogen train, developed entirely in India, will be completed by December 2023, according to the Railways. The hydrogen train will be operationalised in the first phase on heritage lines such as the Kalka-Shimla railway section.
Railways has a target of running 35 new hydrogen trains in the next three years.
Green Energy: To promote green energy, Railways will now set up Ultra Mega Solar Plant. Moving towards zero carbon emission to reduce pollution, Railways is constantly emphasizing on rail electrification.
Tourism: Railways is proposing to make 100 more Vistadome coaches to attract tourists. Railways is operating Bharat Gaurav Tourism Train to promote tourism in the country. Now, there are plans to add 5-6 new circuits.
High Speed Train: Bullet train project will be started in Maharashtra. Along with this, Railways has plans to run 500 Vande Bharat trains in the next three years. Apart from this, the concept of Vande Metro train covering a radius of 50-60 kilometers has been included in the country. It is proposed to manufacture 4,500 newly designed automobile carrier coaches with side entry, 5,000 LHB coaches and 58,000 wagons.
Important Corridors: Tribal Corridors, Social Corridors, Hill Corridors, Port Corridors and Energy Corridors will be set up in areas untouched by rail. Under the Amrit Bharat Station Scheme, 1275 stations will be made modern and hi-tech. Rs 8,000 crore has been allocated for Rail Over Bridge and Rail Under Bridge. Apart from this, Rs 1255 crore has also been allocated for other bridges. In total, Rs 9255 crore will be spent for the construction of different bridges.
According to the Union Railway Minister, the Centre this time has allocated Rs 3,596 crore for the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC), while it was Rs 4,710 crore in the current financial year 2022-23. The development work that will be done under this project will speed up the work of the proposed rapid rail between Delhi-Meerut. Most of the rapid rail work will be completed in the next financial year. With this, work can also start on the proposed route between Delhi and Alwar.
According to the North Western Railway, this zone was given a budget of 6724.29 crore last year and this time it is 28 per cent more. North Western Railway has been allocated a budget of 8636.85 crores for the next financial year. According to the North Western Railway, preparations are being made to run the Vande Bharat train between Jaipur and Delhi in the next few months. A budget of Rs 30 crore has also been released for this. It is proposed to start operation of Vande Bharat train from Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Kota, Sriganganagar and Udaipur by September this year.
Rs 8874.70 crore has been allocated to West Central Railway. Under this, reconstruction of 15 stations of Madhya Pradesh and development work of 80 stations will be taken up. It includes stations like Harda, Khirkiya, Banapur, Itarsi Junction, Hoshangabad, Sant Hirdaram Nagar, Sanchi, Vidisha, Ganjbasoda, Ashoknagar, Guna, Shivpuri, Ruthiyai, Biaora Rajgarh and Shajapur.
Rs 8568 crore has been given to East Central Railway, of which Rs 8505 crore has been given to Bihar. Bihar had received Rs 1132 crore from 2009 to 2014, while a record Rs 8505 crore is being given for the next financial year. According to Railways, 57 projects worth Rs 74,880 crore are underway in Bihar. Preparations are on to make 87 stations of Bihar world-class. Along with this, three new Vande Bharat Express trains will be operated from Patna to Ranchi, Patna to Howrah and Varanasi to Howrah via Gaya-Dhanbad. According to the information, the operation of all the three trains can be started after April.
In South East Central Railway, 48 stations have been identified for development under the Amrit Bharat Station Scheme. The main three stations Bilaspur, Raipur and Durg in South East Central Railway have been identified under the station redevelopment plan. These three stations will be redeveloped on the lines of airport, new building will be constructed with multi-modal integration, regulated traffic movement, world-class facility, sustainable design.
In 2023-24, South Central Railway has been allocated Rs 13,786.19 crore, about 65 per cent more than Rs 8,349.75 crore in 2022-23. According to Union Tourism Minister G. Kishan Reddy, Telangana has been given five times more budget with a record allocation of Rs 4,418 crore. Work on 15 rail projects is going on in the state.
North Eastern Railway this time has been allocated a budget of Rs 6900 crore, which is about Rs 600 crore more than last year.