Better railway link an elusive dream for Malwa-Nimar region

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Indore
  • Updated: Feb 27, 2015 17:45 IST

People of Malwa-Nimar region and stakeholders expressed displeasure, as their expectations for more trains and better connectivity did not find any mention in the Union railway budget presented on Thursday.

Suresh Prabhu's railway budget was not 'constituency-centric' and reflected a national character this time.

Forget about Malwa-Nimar region, barring Northeast India and Jammu & Kashmir, none of the regions found special mention in the budget.

At present, only 35 trains ply from Indore on broad gauge line (30 Mail/Express and five passenger trains) while passenger trains on meter gauge routes have been completely stalled due to ongoing work.

"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 zonal railway committee consultative member.

Lok Sabha Speaker and Indore MP, Sumitra Mahajan's personal persuasion for better rail connectivity in Malwa-Nimar region did not seem to have had any effect on Prabhu.

However, in his budget speech, Prabhu did mention his intention about fast tracking 7,000 kilometres of sanctioned works and commissioning about 1,200 kilometers of track, including about 800 kilometers of gauge conversion.

"With this, we can hope that the proposed Indore-Dahod project; gauge conversion between Indore and Khandwa and further to Akola; Indore-Tihi line connecting Pithampur industrial area which are lingering on snail’s pace, may pick up some momentum," said Pritamlal Dua, a noted social activist and president of Malwa chamber of commerce.

Had the projects been completed earlier, the railways could have saved enormous amount of money, he added saying the construction cost have more than doubled in these years.

The rail minister however intended to uplift the drinking water, sanitation and other facilities at railway stations, through which Indore railway station may also benefit. Passengers may also get ‘Wi-Fi’ connectivity at Indore railway station owing to minister's 'digital India campaign'.

The rail caterers expressed unhappiness with the budget, as it promises to bring in big companies for catering services.

Anil Jain, the president of Western Railway vendors & catering association said, "The move will displace traditional vendors with big companies, he should have thought about revamping catering services and run it in an organised manner."

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