The Union Railway Budget has left Punietes a disappointed bunch for the second consecutive year, by not fulfilling their demands for a much-needed Pune-Nasik and Pune-Ahmednagar train, or the demand for a separate terminal at Mundhwa for long-distance trains.
Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal yesterday presented next fiscal’s Railway Budget in the Lok Sabha, which not left citizens across the country annoyed over the hike in various other charges on tickets along with freight tariff, but also failed to acknowledge any of the demands put forward by Puneites. Various interest groups and frequent rail passengers reacted strongly to Bansal’s maiden Railway Budget after learning that their demands had been ignored.
Chairman of the Railway Road Safety Committee of the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA) Chandmal Parmar termed this year’s railway budget worse than last year’s. He added that people who frequently travel to Nasik or Ahmednagar were hoping that the express train would start from the city to these two destinations.
“As there is no express train from Pune to Nasik and no direct train from Pune to Ahmednagar, we were expecting the minister to introduce trains to these destinations from the city itself. This budget however has destroyed our hopes. Besides, the demand for a Pune to Guwahati train was also ignored,” Parmar said.
Currently, there is only one passenger train between Pune and Nasik, while there is no direct train from Pune to Ahmednagar. Parmar added that the minister did not clarify whether the two trains, announced from Somnath to Chikmangalur and from Palitana to Bijapur, would stop at Pune.
“Another requirement of the city, which should have been considered while presenting the budget, is the increase in frequency of the Delhi-Pune Duronto Express. The express should have been made a daily feature from three days in a week,” said Parmar.
Terming the budget the most depressing ever, president of the Railway Passenger’s Group, Harsha Shah said, “Even after knowing that the ordinary citizens are dependent on the railways, the union government continued to ignore their demands.”
In last year’s budget, then Railway Minister Mamata Bannerjee decided to make provision for a third track between Pune and Lonavala. However, Founder President of Chinchwad Pravasi Manch, Gulamali Bhaledar, informed that no mention has been made in this year’s budget regarding when the actual work would start.
“City’s representatives in the Lok Sabha are ineffective in pressurising the railway minister for more trains, unlike other MPs who do work in their respective constituencies. That’s the major reason why Puneites were left disappointed by yesterday’s budget,” Bhaledar said.