Mamata's proposals excite railway industry players

Railway minister Mamata Bannerjee's budget proposals have excited industry players, as she announced the setting up new coach factories with a capacity of 500 coaches per year, and introducing inter-city double-decker air-conditioned coaches. She also told parliament on Friday that Indian Railways planned to acquire 18,000 wagons in the current fiscal year.

Wagon makers like Siemens, BEML, Titagarh Wagons and Texmaco, and private steel makers like Jindal Steel and Tata Steel are among those who expect to benefit from these plans.

Railway infrastructure players reacted positively to the railway budget. Arvind Gemini, Director, Kalindee Rail Nirman Engineers, told a TV news channel that the proposal for doubling 12 lines and 1300 km of gauge conversion would boost orders for the company. He also expects to get orders for signalling systems.

Ramesh Maheshwari, president and chief executive of Texmaco, said he expects some new orders from the projects of modernisation of railway stations. Bharat Earth Movers chairman and managing director V R S Natarajan said he was happy with the rail budget, and said the company ''expects to receive orders for new coaches and wagons from the Railways'' especially for double-decker coaches.

C M Khosla, a senior former member of the railway board, however termed the railway budget as ''very poor'', saying there was no emphasis on increasing freight traffic.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was all praise for the budget, in spite of its various limitations. He said Banerjee had done a commendable job in a short period of time.