City residents gave the thumbs up to the rail budget presented by railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Tuesday. Most persons HT spoke to were happy with the ministry's decision to step up security measures, introduce new trains and not increase fares.
“I am happy that Bansal announced four all women Railway Police Force (RPF) teams to improve security for women,” Mandeep Kaur, a private company employee who often travels by train, said. “This will make women passengers feel more safe.”
The Sikh community welcomed the move to start a new train to Sikh pilgrimage Nanded Sahib, a demand that had not been met for long. “Earlier, we had to go all the way to Ambala for the train to Nanded Sahib,” Parmjit Singh Sodhi said, adding that the decision would make the pilgrimage more comfortable.
The announcement of a new daily express train to Amritsar via SAS Nagar and Ludhiana, too, has been welcomed by locals. Gurvinder Singh, a regular traveler to the Harmandir Sahib, hailed the decision. “It will definitely ease travel,” he said.
Many also welcomed the ministry's decision on stepping up security. “More security will be of help as I find a lot of people sitting on reserved berths. In some cases, even the train ticket checker doesn't help,” Rakesh Kumar, a regular traveller to Maharashtra, said.
As expected, Bansal also announced a modern signalling equipment factory to be set up at Chandigarh, seen as a step to generate employment in the city. “It is good news for the city.
The factory would generate investment and employment, both,” Sandeep Sahney, Chandigarh Chamber of Commerce president, said.While passengers had a lot to cheer about, there was nothing in the budget for the porters. In 2008, then railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav had announced the appointment of porters with a licence as grade four employees.
Such porters had to be appointed as gangmen (group D) through a one-time recruitment and screening process. City porters, too, expected something on the same lines. “Hauling heavy luggage through for eight hours a day is not an easy job,” Shyam Lal, a porter at the city railway station for 25 years, said, adding that since it was the first time that the railway minister was from Chandigarh, he had hoped that they would also be absorbed permanently in the railways.
At station, passengers look for Bansal on TV
There were several passengers at the city railway station who were interested in watching railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal present the budget. However, authorities had not made any such arrangements.
But faces flak in Panchkula
The proposed setting up of a rail coach factory in Sonepat district did not go down well with the vice-president of Panchkula municipal corporation (MC).
MC vice-chief BB Singal said the factory could have revived the economy by increasing employment opportunities and attract setting up of ancillary units.
He described the decision as the outcome of a regional bias in Haryana. “It was a major demand of ours,” he said.
He termed the proposals announced by railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal as unrealistic.
“There are no concrete proposals on how the funds will be generated for the introduction of the trains and facilities that have been announced,” he said.