The Railway Budget was on Thursday passed by the Lok Sabha with Minister Mamata Banerjee announcing a slew of measures to tone up the functioning of the Railways in terms of amenities and safety and deciding to set up an expert committee to prepare a blueprint for future.
Replying to a marathon discussion on the Budget, she said two more non-stop 'Duranto' (fast) trains --Delhi-Secunderabad and Delhi-Nagpur-- would be introduced in addition to 12 such trains already announced.
Two of the 14 such trains would start within a month, she said but did not identify them.
Catering to regional sentiments which have often erupted in the form of violence in recent times, she favoured 50 per cent quota for locals in induction in Railways through the Railway Recruitment Board and question paper in regional language as she promised to review the process of intake.
She also included several more stations in the list of those to be developed as 'adarsh' (model) and world class ones, responding to demands by members from all parties, who accused her of only focussing on West Bengal while neglecting rest of the country.
The Budget was passed by voice vote after suspension of a rule which provides for referring of Demand for Grants and Appropriation Bills to the Standing Committees.