The railway budget for 2011-12 received a mixed response from commuters and politicians.
Unhappy passenger associations pointed out that the status of pending projects had not been declared.
“We don’t need a budget to increase 47 train services. Local railway authorities can do it. The status of promises made last year was not discussed at all. We feel there is bias towards West Bengal. Security and safety is still an unanswered concern,” said Madhu Kotian, president, Mumbai Railway Pravasi Sangh, a passenger association.
Subhash Gupta of National Railway Users Consultative Council also expressed displeasure over the budget.
“There are no safety provisions for commuters in this budget. Are 47 new services enough to solve Mumbai’s problems? We wanted two more lanes on the harbour line to reduce the load, but that seems a distant dream. Overall the budget has nothing for Mumbai,” Gupta said.
Meanwhile, ruling party politicians including chief minister Prithviraj Chavan expressed satisfaction with the budget. “It is a budget that will prompt the country’s all inclusive growth,” Chavan said.
Home minister RR Patil, who is also the guardian minister of naxal-infested Gadchiroli, expressed pleasure at the introduction of a Vadasa-Gadchiroli train. “This is the first time that Gadchiroli will reflect on the country’s railway map,” Patil said.
“There has not been any increase in railway fares for the last seven years, which is boon for suburban rail travellers. An addition of 47 new trains and the conversion of 107 trains from nine coaches to 12 coaches is good,” said Gurudas Kamat, minister of state for home affairs and communications and information and technology.
Opposition parties say the budget does not have enough for Maharashtra. “None of the 25 major pending projects of the state have figured in this year’s provision,” said Shiv Sena leader Shubash Desai. Sudhir Mungantiwar, state BJP president, said, “It is a disappointing budget for Maharashtra as 25 old projects are still incomplete.”
Shirish Parkar, MNS spokesperson said, “Despite Maharashtra contributing the maximum revenue to the railways, we have been let down.”