However, the chief minister wanted the government to reconsider linking rail fares to fuel price hike as it will hit the common man.
In a statement, Jayalalithaa said: "The Railway Budget 2014-15 is a serious exercise at consolidation which the new government at the Centre has been forced to undertake in the wake of the mismanagement of this extremely crucial sector by the UPA government over the past decade. The finances of the railways are in extremely poor shape which the railway minister has laid bare with disarming candour and honesty."
Commending the railway budget for the diamond quadrilateral high speed rail network, the chief minister said it would be a game-changer in terms of providing a transport infrastructure backbone for the country.
She said, "Introduction of high speed bullet trains is an aspirational goal which will greatly enthuse the country. I urge that this technology should be next brought to Chennai, which closely followed Mumbai in the first introduction of railway services in the country in the 1850s."
The chief minister expressed her happiness over the holistic approach proposed to achieve greater urban transport integration with railways. "It responds to a long standing request that my government has placed to integrate urban transportation in Chennai. I hope this also leads to an early decision on the handover of the MRTS network in Chennai to the Chennai Metro Rail Limited as I had already requested," the chief minister said.
"I also expect that, with the priority being accorded to allocating funds to long-pending projects, some of the long-pending projects in Tamil Nadu will also be completed early and the people of the state will benefit. I also welcome the proposals to introduce new trains connecting Chennai to different parts of the country and the proposals for special trains to Melmaruvathur and Velankanni," she added.
She said it is very appropriate to target a substantial increase in carrying freight and making the railways. A number of measures and improvements have been announced to improve the freight performance which are very welcome. "I hope that the improvement in coal movement would ease the coal availability position in thermal power generation stations in Tamil Nadu," Jayalalithaa said.
The Railway Budget has also rightly placed considerable emphasis on improving the experience of the rail traveller by improving cleanliness, security, catering, toilet and other facilities at stations and on trains. Safety in operations has also been appropriately accorded the highest priority.
"However, I request the Prime Minister and the railway minister to spare the common man from the burden of further fare increases by not following the previous government's policy of fuel price linked fare increases," she said.
"I welcome the railway minister's proposal to work closely with the state governments on several safety related initiatives, including speedy conversion of unmanned level crossings and involving states in the monitoring of on-going projects. This reflects a new working style and culture which will augur well for speedier project implementation."
"I commend the Prime Minister and the railway minister for having practised transparency in placing before the country the true status of the Indian Railways. Their approach is fiscally responsible and very bold. We look forward to the new initiatives to raise finances and the proposed improvements in project and operational management bearing fruit and thereby delivering on the hopes and aspirations that have been created," she said.
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