With many of the big-ticket transport projects mired in delays, many have reacted with scepticism to the new deadline set for the much-awaited air-conditioned local trains. One cannot blame the city’s residents for the cynicism, considering the transport project delays they have witnessed over the last several years.

Recently, the country’s only Monorail rolled out, much to the relief for the city’s commuters. But it commenced only after breaching several deadlines. The Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro rail project was also implemented to reduce the traffic congestion on the busy east-west connect, but years after its inception and after failing to meet deadline after deadline, it hasn’t been completed yet.

So it comes as no surprise that the new September target set by the Railway authorities for the air-conditioned local train has failed to enthuse the city’s residents.

In reality, the air-conditioned coaches should offer respite for the city’s commuters who have to undergo an arduous commute in the local trains during peak hours every day.

The suburban locals ferry 75 lakh people daily and offer the least comfort, thanks to the jam-packed compartments. This, despite the comfortable seats, bigger blade ceiling fans and broader windows present inside these trains.

The Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge had announced the roll out of the AC trains in the 2012-13 Railway Budget and July deadline was set.

Once declared in a railway budget, work on the project should have made progress by March-end. The fact, however, remains that although the design and other technical details have received permission, the new September deadline still looks difficult.

Meeting deadlines should come naturally to authorities the logical end to productive and focused work. Meeting the deadline will only instil faith in the commuters, who have given up hope on projects ever being finished in the stipulated time. The railway officials have an opportunity to step up, and should keep their September promise.