Mumbaikars await details of Railway budget

Mumbaikars await details of rail budget

Mumbaikars may have to wait for at least two more days to get to know about the allocation made in Railway budget for their city as officials in Mumbai on Wednesday cited the code of conduct, in place for upcoming civic polls, and non-receipt of official record to express their inability to give details.

This year, Railway budget was incorporated in general budget after a gap of over 90 years. According to officials, Maharashtra has got Rs 5958
crore in the budget. "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 said while addressing a press conference here. He, however, expressed his inability to disclose the details of the rail budget.

"First, I would like to tell you all that Maharashtra is currently under the code of conduct imposed by State Election Commission (for civic and local bodies elections). "As we have not yet received the pink book of the budget, we would be able to tell you the details only on February 3, when we get the pink book," Sharma said. Pink Book is that official record of Indian Railways which lays down the arrangement of fund allotment to different railway projects. Echoing Sharma, Western Railway General Manager G C Agarwal said the details about allocation for Mumbai could be revealed only on February 3. "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."

"In this budget, Maharashtra has received Rs 5958 crore whereas in the last five fiscal years, average per year allocation was Rs 1171 crore. Comparing this, we have got enough money and I can tell you that shortage or paucity of funds would no longer be an impediment to execute the projects," Agarwal said. He said Gujarat has got Rs 3,993 crore while Madhya Pradesh Rs 5367 crore for the upcoming fiscal years. Meanwhile, commuters of local trains demanded continuation of the old practice to present Railway budget separately as they couldn't immediately know about allocation details.

"Previously, we used to get clear picture as rail budget used to be presented separately. But this year, we are in dark. Moreover, separation of the rail budget would create fissures between rail ministry and finance ministry. The government should present next rail budget separately," demanded Passengers and Traffic Relief Association (PATRA) member Mansoor Darvesh.

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