The maiden Railway Budget of the NarendraModi-led NDA government seems to have not gone down well with the suburban commuters as it does not offer anything new to them, commuters associations said. However, the overall Railway Budget presented by the Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda has been welcomed.
Of the 1.35 crore railway commuters in the country, Mumbai accounts for around 60 per cent as nearly 75 lakh commuters travel across the three local rail lines – Western, Central and Harbour.
“The budget has simply disappointed the suburban rail commuters as it has not offered anything new to them. It is silent on the much talked about Churchgate-Virar elevated corridor, which was announced in the earlier budget. Also, there is no mention of allocation of funds for the third phase of the Mumbai Urban Transport project,” Rail PravasiSangh (an association of the suburban commuters) president Madhu Kotian said here.
Though the budget has proposed to introduce 860 new coaches (70 new services) in the next two years, the move is unlikely to provide relief to the suburban commuters in the jam-packed trains, Kotian said.
Gowda, in his maiden budget, has assured Mumbaikars around 860 new coaches with swanky interiors along with 64 new electric multiple units. Kotian, however, welcomed various proposals in the budget to make rail journey in the country safe and secure.
Echoing similar views, another commuter’s lobby group, Yatri Sangh president Subhash Gupta said, “This budget has disappointed us as a Mumbaikar. But overall, we are happy that it has sought to address the real problems plaguing the railway.”
The proposal to introduce the bullet train, focus on cleanliness, safety and security of the train passengers is definitely a welcome move, he said.