Budget 2017: No ‘achhe din’ for Mumbai’s local train commuters

Budget 2017: No ‘achhe din’ for Mumbai’s local train commuters

Arun Jaitley allocated Rs 1.31 lakh crore for Indian Railways, however there were no major announcement to ease the travelling experience of Mumbai’s 75 lakh train commuters.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday (February 1) presented the Budget 2017 in the Lok Sabha. This year, Railway Budget was incorporated in General Budget for the first time after Independence. In the Budget for fiscal year 2017-19, Arun Jaitley allocated Rs 1.31 lakh crore for Indian Railways, however there were no major announcement to ease the travelling experience of Mumbai’s 75 lakh train commuters.

Unlike the past Railway Budgets, there was no announcement about introduction of new trains, change in passenger fare or fund allocation for ongoing projects. Arun Jaitley spoke about Indian Railways for few minutes without mentioning Mumbai local trains. Railway officials in Mumbai expressed inability to give details about the allocation made in Railway Budget for Mumbai, citing that model code of conduct which is imposed in the city due to BMC elections.

“We have got huge budgetary allocation to the tune of Rs 5958 crore for upcoming fiscal years, which is 408 per cent higher that the average allocation of last five years,” Central Railway General Manager D K Sharma told media, adding that they are yet to receive Pink Budget which lays down the arrangement of fund allotment to different railway projects.

In his Budget speech, Arun Jaitley said that tenders would be awarded for the redevelopment of 25 stations during 2017-18. Under the scheme, the Central Railway proposed to redevelop Thane, LTT and Pune while Western Railway’s list contains Mumbai Central, Bandra Terminus, Borivali and Indore. “We are not in position to disclose the minute details, but I can assure that this budget has all the provisions of last mile connectivity with adequate emphasis on safety, security and comfort,” said Western Railway General Manager G C Agarwal.

Meanwhile, commuters of Mumbai’s local train expressed disappointment on Budget, saying it lacked vision for the city’s lifeline. “Over 3,000 people die on the tracks in a year but no attention has been paid to the matter in the budget. It shows the government’s insensitivity to Mumbai,” commuter activist Rajeev Singhal told a leading daily. Passengers and Traffic Relief Association (PATRA) member Mansoor Darvesh asked the government to present Rail Budget separately rather than merging with the General Budget.

 

News Source: www.india.com

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