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Last Updated: May 20, 2007 - 10:48:48 AM
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Lalu opposed to retrenchment in railways
May 1, 2007 - 6:00:44 PM
'There are 7,500 railway stations in the country and the railways have a lot of surplus land. We can give that land on lease to farmers to grow fruits, vegetables and pulses.

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[RxPG] New Delhi, May 1 - Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Tuesday said he was opposed to retrenchment in Indian Railways.

Lalu Prasad told newsmen on the occasion of May Day, 'I have written to the Prime Minister - to introduce a waiver against this rule in the railways.'

'I have written to the prime minister just 15 days ago saying the rule of reducing the workforce in every ministry by 20 percent should not be applied to us. This rule came during the National Democratic Alliance's - government of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.'

He was speaking after interacting with a delegation of senior US government officials that called on him at Rail Bhavan. It was led by David Blair, a professor of economics and director, economic services and industrial studies, National Defence University, US.

The minister also claimed a unique distinction.

'Most countries attempt improving the performance of public services in the world either by reducing manpower, or increasing fares or by both. I told them that I and my railway officials are the only ones in the world who have made railways profitable without any fare hike, in fact reducing it, and without any retrenchments, in fact adding to the work force,' Lalu Prasad told newsmen.

He said he told the US delegation of his and Manmohan Singh's vision for the railways.

'I want to see Indian Railways emerge number one in the country, and the prime minister is keen on the progress of Indian infrastructure in the next 10 years - the railways, civil aviation, roads and power.

'That day is not very far when thanks to our superior manpower, our sheer hard work and determination, we will reach the top.'

Lalu Prasad also announced plans to promote farming and vegetation on railway land.

'There are 7,500 railway stations in the country and the railways have a lot of surplus land. We can give that land on lease to farmers to grow fruits, vegetables and pulses.

'We can also put up cold storage plants nearby for storing these farm products, provide container service and then ensure that people benefit from it all around the country. This will provide good quality fruits to people at a reasonable rate while giving a reasonable steady income to the farmers,' said Lalu Prasad.

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