Mumbai, Feb 25 (IANS) Mumbaikars Friday gave a mixed response to the Railway Budget that has proposed more trains and longer coaches for suburban passengers of the city. While some appreciated the measures, others felt they were inadequate to solve the problem.
“Mumbai suburban passengers will get zero benefit from the budget. There is no respite for suburban commuters as not much has been done in terms of increasing services for lakhs of passengers who travel everyday,” said Deepak Gandhi, president of Mumbai Suburban Railway Passengers’ Association.
“What ideally needs to be done is to start more trains from Bandra till Virar. But all trains mostly originate from Churchgate (south Mumbai) and cater to more than 20 stations. This increases the rush in trains, which might lead to accidents,” he added.
Agreed Madhu Kotian, president of the Mumbai Pravasi Railway Sangh, adding that a mere number of 47 services will not help the 7,000,000 strong commuters who travel every day.
“I appreciate the initiative of converting all 107 trains that run on the harbour line from nine coaches to 12 coaches,” he said.
“This will help reduce passenger traffic during peak hours,” he added.
Kotian, however, expressed concern over the decision to provide housing to slum dwellers residing near railway tracks. “The proposal is not very clear and it does not mention whether it is restricted to providing housing to those in Mumbai or the entire nation,” he said.
Subhash Gupta, president of Yatri Sangh, Mumbai, however felt it is a balanced railway budget.
“She has tried to provide benefits to all possible sectors and states. The fact that the fares have not been hiked is worth appreciation,” Gupta added.
Daily commuters, however, were not so enthusiastic. Public relations professional Anukul Bhavsar, who travels a distance of around 40 km via local train one way, said there is a requirement of more fast trains on the central line.
“Fast trains on the central line operate only during peak hours. Their frequency should be increased,” Bhavsar said.
Administration professional Naina Sharma said the budget has no benefits for the commoner. “Concessions for senior citizens, benefits for the handicapped are fine. But what about adding more trains to reduce the passenger rush in each train,” she questioned.
“People are crammed in trains like animals during peak hours. Our railway minister has to visit Mumbai and take time to understand how the city works. It is then only that she will be able to understand the situation and work positively towards making it better,” Sharma added.