The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Laluspeak on track to railway success
- ‘Pleasant’ sops in store
Lalu Prasad addresses the crowd at Thankurganj on Wednesday and (below) a toy train passes the newly built rail bridge on the Panchnoi river between Siliguri and Darjeeling. Telegraph pictures

Thakurganj (Kishenganj), Oct. 17: Cold storage for farmers at 7,500 stations across the country and a performance-based bonus for railway employees are likely to figure in the next railway budget.

Railway minister Lalu Prasad, who laid the foundation stone for a railway track from Galgalia on the Nepal-Bihar border to Araria, 101km away, said today that “pleasant surprises” would mark the 2008 budget.

“The UPA government is here to stay. The railways is a Jersey cow. If it is fed well, it will give milk. Once it was full of thieves. But now, without any increase in fair, we are making huge profits. This is the Lalu miracle that people talk about,” the minister said at the programme held here, 5km from Galgalia.

He added that a cold storage at railway stations would mean that farmers would find it easier to carry their produce to different parts of the country. Unemployed women would be trained for packaging the farm produce to be sent elsewhere.

The minister also laid the foundation stone for gauge conversion (metre to broad) of tracks between Aluabari in Islampur and Siliguri Junction.

According to the minister, Rs 300 crore has been sanctioned for the new tracks to Araria while for the other project Rs 170 crore has been sanctioned.

He said both the projects would be completed by 2008. The railway officers have been asked to prepare the groundwork for land acquisition.

A crowd of 4,000 had assembled to listen to the minister who announced that the Khaza Gariv Nawaz Express which plies between Kishanganj and New Delhi thrice a week will from now on run daily.

Accusing Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar of harbouring “vendetta” against adversaries, Lalu Prasad said Union minister Mohammed Ali Ashraf Fatmi’s name in an alleged plot to get a Darbhanga official murdered has proved it.

Fatmi’s name cropped up during the interrogation of six persons arrested for conspiring to murder Bobby Khan, Darbhanga police had said yesterday. No FIR had been registered against the junior human resource development minister and RJD MP. But a police team will “question” him soon.

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