People in Bhopal were happy over the announcements made in the railway budget, especially passenger friendly initiatives and no hike in the passenger fare. But at the same time they pointed out that it didn't talk about the specifics and didn't mention about the new trains to be started.
This became apparent after HT spoke to a cross-section of people here to know their take on the railway budget.
Pintu Yadav from Subhash Nagar said that after a long time he was witnessing a budget which was pro-people. "As a common man, what matters most to me is the passenger fare. The fact that it has not been increased, is a big relief to people like me", he said.
Arvind Sharma, a small time trader from Gautam Nagar, said he was happy that this time the government had taken care of small issues like giving preference to elderly people and pregnant ladies on lower berths during ticket reservation and making the ladders to the upper berth more passenger friendly. These may appear small issues but they matter a lot to people, he said.
Sukhbir Singh, a professional in the private sector from Lal Ghati, said that the announcements like providing many charging points in the compartments will help lot of passengers who couldn't reach out to their loved ones as their mobile batteries would get discharged and they couldn't make calls. “People are ready to pay more, but they want good facilities”, he said.
Om Prakash Namdev, a trader from New Bhopal, said that he was happy with the stress on cleanliness in the railways this time.
"Starting a new department for keeping stations and trains clean under Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is a good beginning to make Indian railways clean", he said.
Prashant Srivastava, a private employee from Anand Nagar, said that he was satified over the announcements on strengthening safety in railways. "Starting a helpline on security concerns and installing CCTVs in select women coaches is a good beginning. But the real test would be how and where they are going to implement what they have announced today", he said.
He added that the budget also didn't delve in to the specifics and there was no mention about new trains.
Later in the afternoon, divisional railway manager (DRM) Bhopal Rajeev Chaudhary addressed a press meet, terming the budget a "game-changer".
Asked what could be the three major take aways for MP from the budget as he knew the ground reality in the state and had sent various proposals to the railway ministry, Rajeev Chaudhary said MP would surely benefit on three fronts.
"First, MP will get some new trains. Second, the state would get some new railway over bridges. And third, many projects and schemes that would be initiated here, would create many jobs", he said.
Questioned what was new in the budget this year, he said it was for the first time that government was stressing so much on consolidating its assets, modernizing the railways and making it passenger friendly.