March 2007


An American soldier was finally coming home after having fought in Vietnam. He called his parents from San Francisco. “Mom and Dad, I’m coming home but I’ve a favour to ask. I’ve a friend, I’d like to bring home with me.” “Sure”, they replied, “We’d love to meet him.” “There’s something you should know.” The son continued, “He stepped on a land mine and lost an arm and leg. He has nowhere else to go and I want him to live with us.” “I’m sorry to hear that son. Maybe we can help him find somewhere to live.” “No, Mom and Dad, I want him to live with us. “Son,”
said the father, “you don’t know what you are asking. Someone with such a handicap would be a terrible burden on us. We have our own lives to live and we think you should just come home and forget about this guy. He’ll find a way to live on his own.”

At this point, the son hung up the phone. The parents heard nothing more from him. A few days later, however, they received a call from the San Francisco police.

Their son had killed himself by jumping off a building. The grief-stricken parents flew to San Francisco to identify his body. They found to their horror that he had only one arm and one leg.

The parents in this story are like many of us. We find it easy to love those who are good looking or fun to have around, but we do not like people who inconvenience us or make us feel uncomfortable. And come to think of it, it remains unimaginable as to how the big-bad world would look upon such a person, who, in his time of need could not even turn to his parents.

Even though this is a true incident,It is however food for thought that relationships in the world are fast becoming need specific…Something needs to be done…………….

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The Union Railway Minister, Lalu Prasad, today presented the Railway Budget for 2007-08 in the Lok Sabha amidst opposition slogan-shouting on Quattrocchi issue.

Lalu Prasad claims a profit of Rs 20,000 crores as against Rs 14,700 crores for the year 2006.

Presenting the Budget, the Railway Minister offered a slew of measures to benefit the travelling public. Wooden seats are to be replaced by cushioned ones in ordinary class passenger trains from next fiscal.

Unreserved compartments in new trains to be increased from four to six to help ordinary passengers.

Other highlights:  

 Fifty per cent fare concession has been offered for UPSC and other official examinees.

 To make compartments user-friendly, changes in the design of compartments are to be made to help the physically-disabled.

 Separate coach for vendors, milkmen and petty traders in the passenger trains.

 Ticket bookings and hotel bookings can be done through railway call centres to be set up.

 Tickets to be sold at petrol pumps, ATM centres etc.

 Six thousand automatic ticket vending machines to be set up in next two years.

 Number of berths to be increased from 72 to 84 in sleeper coaches.

 Freight revenues up 17 per cent, passenger revenues increase 14 per cent in April-December 2006.

 Three-storey container trains planned, Lalu Prasad says.

 Work on Dedicated Freight Corridor to begin in 2007/08.

 New telephone number for railway inquiry to be 139 across India.

 Railways to start 32 new trains, 8 Garib Raths this year

 Railways to observe 2007-08 as Year of Cleanliness.

 Mumbai Urban Transport Project to be speeded up to help suburban commuters. A sum of Rs 5,000 crore to be allocated during the next Five-Year Plan for the       purpose.

 Feasibility study to be conducted for ultra-high speed trains with speed up to 250-300 km per hour.

 Railways to set up 300 new model stations, some stations to have CCTVs and all TTEs to be provided palm tops.

 More lower berths to be earmarked for women and senior citizens.

 Railways to introduce 800 new wagons; 20,000 km of high-density network to be laid; new trains for cement transportation.

 Smart rail travel cards to be introduced.

 Passenger fares to be slashed across the board

 Fare reduction in all upper classes and no raise in second class fares