Mumbaikars are not pleased with the maiden budget presented by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. Even though the railway minister has not hiked fares but he has ignored the problems faced by Mumbaikars who have to face a torrid time while commuting in suburban trains during peak hours. Thus the achche din seems to be a distant dream for railway commuters. Instead of starting the ac services and wi-fi services, railways could have paid attention to improving basic services. Many commuters were demanding the doubling of harbour line tracks for augmenting services on this route. The railway minister has not made any announcement to address the problem of overcrowding during peak hours.
AV spoke to Mumbaikars to know about their opinion about the railway budget. Here is what they had to say
Manikrao Thakre, MPCC President said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inducted Suresh Prabhu into the cabinet with much fanfare. The entire nation had huge expectations from the budget presented by him. The government might be claiming that it has not revised passenger fares but it had already hiked the same last year.”
RTI activist Anil Galgali said, “The railway minister has once again giving false promise for starting ac locals for the city. The announcement made by the minister in the previous budget is yet to be implemented. Mr Prabhu has not spoken about the Virar-Churchgate elevated corridor. He has not made any announcements about starting 50 additional services on the central line.”
Satish Deshmukh, a Kandivali resident said,”The railways are only giving false assurances to people. They should solve the problems of Mumbaikars who have to commute in local trains during peak hours. They have failed to increase the number of trains and coaches which could have reduced the congestion during peak hours. The segregation of Pune line could have enabled railways to run additional services.”
Rajan Vichare, Shiv Sena MP from Thane said, “Maharashtra Railway Budget was expected to be something substantial. The railway minister’s decision to not hike fares is laudable. Announcement has been made to start bio-toilets in trains which should be replicated on stations too.”
Ajay S Shriram, President, CII said, “While recognising that under-investment has been a persistent problem in the Indian Railways, the honourable Minister Suresh Prabhu unveiled a comprehensive plan for modernisation of the Railways and improving the customer experience”
“The Minister suggested several innovative financing mechanisms including setting up special purpose vehicles for raising long-term investment from pension funds and multilateral agencies. He set an ambitious target of investing Rs 8.5 lakh crores in the Railways over the next five years. This would result in a truly modern rail system which would significantly propel economic growth” said Mr. Shriram.
S. N. Kabra a reader said, “Prabhu Express with Modi engine deserves commuters’ appreciation for keeping fares unchanged at a time when inflation is rising. Monetizing assets rather than selling them for generating funds has been a wise move by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu as it would make Railways stronger financially over a period of time.”
Anand Singh Rajawat, degree college professor, Virar (W) said, “In my opinion, the budget presented by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is not populistic. Already, the government has been making big announcements without delivering so first let them implement those agenda which were a part of last year’s railway budget.”
Navdeep Modi, event organizer, Santacruz (W) said, “No doubt that the fares have not increased in this budget, it is noteworthy to mention that people were already unhappy with the fare hike imposed in the last budget. Thus minister could have brought some relief for atleast middle class passengers.”