The railway budget presented on Thursday generated mixed response from the people in Madhya Pradesh.
While railway minister Suresh Prabhu in his maiden railway budget failed to fulfill the expectations of the people in the Malwa - Nimar region, officials of the West Central Railway (WCR) said the state has been provided with a slew of new projects that would not only boost revenue but also provide better passenger services.
"Given the whopping 25 lakh people residing in the city, and with more than two lakh floating population, Indore's connectivity to other parts of the state and country is dismal," said Jagmohan Verma, a member of the zonal railway committee consultative.
Prabhu has however, fast-tracked several sanctioned projects, which have been lying in a limbo, besides commissioning of 1,200km of rail line and gauge conversion of an 800km line in the state.
"…we can hope that the proposed Indore - Dahod project; the gauge conversion between Indore and Khandwa and further to Akola; the Indore - Tihi line connecting Pithampur industrial area, which are lingering may pick up some momentum," said Pritamlal Dua, social activist and president of Malwa Chamber of Commerce.
The railway budget has been welcomed by the Pithampur industry association.
"The railway minister has taken financially prudent steps that will make the railways more efficient and also open up avenues for future projects,” said president of Pithampur industry association Gautam Kothari.
"This policy will end the usual practice of launching new trains under political compulsion."
The WCR has been allocated Rs 1,706 crore, which is 31% more compared to last year's budget, said WCR general manager Ramesh Chandra.
He said Prabhu’s promise to better the digital interface to make the entire experience of train travel more customer-friendly will be extended Bhopal, Jabalpur and Kota stations, which will have Wi-Fi fecilitity.
The WCR was hopeful that that it would get funding for many proposals it had sent earlier to the railway ministry, Chandra added.
The railway minister has allocated Rs 258.33 crore for electrification of the Katni- Singrauli route, besides announcing Rs 165.90 crore for the Jabalpur - Balaghat gauge conversion project
Apart from the new projects, funds have also been allocated for several ongoing projects that include laying of a third track between Bina-Bhopal and Bhopal-Itarsi; doubling of the Kota-Bina track; electrification of the Itarsi-Jabalpur-Katni-Satna-Chhivki and laying of a new track between Singrauli-Reewa-Satna-Khajuraho-Lalitpur.