Passenger safety would be the top priority for the railway ministry, said Laloo Prasad, who took charge on Monday. He also promised punctuality in the running of trains and a corruption-free railways.
R Velu and Naranbhai Rathwa took over as the two ministers of state in the ministry on Monday. "All accidents will be thoroughly investigated and responsibility fixed. Adequate modernisation measures will also be taken for upgrading the railways," he said.
Prasad said new projects would be undertaken only after the projects sanctioned under the regime of his predecessors had been completed.
He said fare for lower classes would not be increased and the rates kept at affordable level.
He said free railway passes would be provided to freedom fighters, mediapersons and senior citizens. The minister said the use of plastic cups would be banned in favour of earthen cups -- kulhars -- as they are bio-degradable.
Prasad also promised to root out corruption and stop the contract mafia from eating into the railways' revenue. He said remote areas would be connected by rail links.
He said he would invite suggestions from all the Members of Parliament about the kind of projects that needed to be initiated in their constituencies and the status of old projects.
He assured that the suggestions would be incorporated in the next Rail Budget.
Yadav said all steps would be taken to ensure the running of trains on schedule and a proper enquiry system at stations.
"Officials will be punished if complaints are received about late running of trains," he said, adding that solutions would be found about delay in trains following natural calamities or during inclement weather.
He said special attention would be given to cleanliness at stations, inside trains and in the food served to travellers.