Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu presented his second rail budget on Thursday, but there is disappointment for Mumbai and Maharashtra as there are no new trains and major announcements, except for two rail corridors.
This year too, he has not made a big announcement, but has focused on development for the railways. There are more than 84 lakh commuters on the western and central railway, but there are no major announcements of new trains. However, the minister promised to increase the platform height of each stations in Mumbai.
Rail commuters in the city feel that the focus should be on providing quick solutions to the problems of the common people-solutions that will make their travel more comfortable and safe. But commuters appear to be in for a disappointment.
Commenting on the rail budget, Sameer Bobate said, “While the railways are always talking about big projects, the average commuter is only interested in improving his travelling experience.”
In the regimes of Lalu Prasad, Nitish Kumar and even Mamta Bannerjee, the minister has taken care of their state and cities, but Prabhu did not introduce any new train for Mumbai or Maharashtra, he said.
According to Dhaval Desai from the Observer Research Foundation, the immediate need is to stop the railway deaths that are taking place on the tracks on a daily basis. “It is a fact that there are at least 10-12 people dying on the tracks every day, and this is a matter of serious concern,” he said.
Speaking to Firstpost , an RTI activist Anil Galgali said, "The railway minister, who hails from Mumbai has made a mockery of the sentiments of 84 lakh passengers belonging to his own city Mumbai. There are no new trains and the budget involves a repetition of the same routine. The lifeline is becoming a death line."
Former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said the railway budget presented by railway minister Suresh Prabhu was "quite disappointing". "There's nothing in it for Mumbai and Maharashtra. We had asked the government to start various rail services and projects, but in vain."
More criticism came from Congress MP and former CM Ashok Chavan, who called it a "super flop" rail budget. "It did not meet the common man's expectations. The BJP-led government had promised many things before election, but all its promises are falling flat now. There was no vision in the budget," he added.
In Mumbai, nearly 84 lakh people travel in packed locals. And yet, the government has disappointed Mumbaikars, said NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik to Firstpost.
However, city BJP president Ashish Shelar said Suresh Prabhu has presented a development-oriented budget. "We never give false promises to commuters. Two rail corridors in Mumbai will change the face of rail travel in the years to come," he said.
Following are the major announcements for Mumbai-
Two rail Corridors- Churchgate to Virar and CST to Panvel, with both corridors connected to Metro Rail.
For reasons of security of commuters, increasing the height of platforms
A special corridor for the Mumbai and Navi Mumbai Airports
Starting work on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train, with the help of Japan
CCTV Cameras at all stations