Residents of the city, while welcoming the announcement of the New Delhi-Bathinda Shatabdi in the zone, rued that more areas could have been connected, especially Sangrur. At present, very few trains run through Sangrur, the residents said. At least, one train, that connects the area to Chandigarh could have been added.
According to residents, cleanliness at the railway station here remains a major concern of the passengers. The former UPA government had declared it as an 'adarsh' railway station but facilities are not up to the mark.
"We get only Rs 5,000 every month for cleanliness of this big railway station. How can we keep it clean in just Rs 5,000 as the labour charges have increased," an employee of the railway station told without disclosing his name.
"The sweeper got retired two months ago. Now the authorities are planning to outsource the cleanliness job as there is no permanent sweeper at the station. Besides, more Class 4 staff is also for smooth running of the station," he added.
Welcoming the introduction of bullet and high- speed trains, a daily passenger Rupinder Dhiman said, "I think it will help the railways to compete at the international level. I also think that the raise in rail fares was a must as the fare was very low compared to bus fare".
"If the government increases fare, they should also focus on improving the infrastructure and facilities at the railway stations and in trains, people love to travel in trains if the government keeps trains clean and safe," says industrialist Amandeep Bansal.
However, Supinder Kaur, a BCA student, said, "I think the increase in rail fares will affect the common man, who travels by trains because it is a cheaper mode of transport. The government should also provide special facilities to students."
"We hope safety measures are introduced in passenger trains as well," said a regular commuter, Arun Goel adding, "Safety and cleanliness remained the biggest challenge for the Indian Railways, however, the former government promised a lot but did nothing, now let us see how the Modi government tackles this problem after a hike in fares."
However, former Congress MP from Sangrur Vijay Inder Singla said Railway the budget has no blueprint to restructure and modernise the Indian Railways. It talks more about IT initiatives and hygiene, but does not deal with basic issues of capacity creation, electrification, strategy to reduce unmanned crossings in a defined timeframe", he added.