Suresh Prabhu presented his second Rail Budget on Thursday and promised to restructure, reorganise and rejuvenate Indian railways. And a push to enhance amenities in trains and stations is the way to rejuvenate the railways often called India’s lifeline.
Keeping safety in mind, Prabhu announced that all unmanned level crossings will be eliminated by 2020. CCTVs will be installed in 311 stations in this year.
Keeping the rising number of smartphone users in mind, the rail minister announced wifi connections for 100 stations in this year and 400 in the next two years.
Cleanliness has long been a major complaint against the Indian railways. Keeping Swachh Bharat in mind, Suresh Prabhu today proposed cleaning through SMS. A simple text from a disgruntled passenger will be enough to get toilets, coaches or stations cleaned. 17000 bio toilets will also be set in 475 stations in this year.
Food has been another area of concern for Indian railways and this Budget proposes to give passengers local cuisine in the menu. The children’s menu will include baby food, hot milk and water at stations. And e-catering service will be extended from 40 to 400 stations.
The rail minister also focused on entertainment and proposed to invite FM radio stations to install systems in trains.
Also on the cards is beautification and increase of passenger amenities at pilgrimage centres like Ajmer, Amritsar, Gaya, Tirupati and other such places.
Though nothing specific on bullet trains found a mention, the Rail Budget proposed to set up high-speed passenger corridor from Ahmedabad to Mumbai.
Long winding queues for tickets could soon be a thing of past if Prabhu is able to implement his proposal to allow sale of tickets through handheld terminals. To increase a passenger-experience in stations and trains, Indian Rail will set up 2000 water vending machines and mobile charging points. The Budget proposes to set up mechanised laundries to provide clean and hygienic bed rolls.