Mumbaikars dismiss rail budget as dull

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 26, 2013 12:00 hrs

Mumbai, Feb 26 (IANS) Even as the railway budget presented Tuesday was described by the government as reformist and forward looking, some Mumbaikars called it dull and disappointing.

People said they could not be fooled into taking the "no fare hike" claim at face value, considering that the fares were hiked in January.

"According to me, it is a dull budget. Railway fares had just been hiked and hence it was obvious not to hike them further. The (railway) minister has increased the tatkal and reservation fees which were not hiked earlier," said Sadhna Malkan, a home-maker.

Speaking about the online ticket reservation service, Khantil Shah, a communications professional, said it was high time that the railway ministry offered better and faster services.

"Being a frequent traveller, I am looking forward to better online services that our minister has promised by December," he said.

"Bansal said currently only 2,000 tickets per minute is supported by the booking system. The ministry should have known better, considering we have over 12,000 trains running nationwide. I hope the new system that promises booking of 7,200 tickets per minute is a success. Fingers crossed," Shah said.

Many Mumbai residents asked what was in store for the common man.

"I just want to know what is there for the common man in this budget, apart from a few promises, with a long waiting period. The minister said we have joined Russia, China and the US in freight carrying, but can I please ask him when are we going to join them in passenger travel," said Akshay Magji, a marketing professional.

"Can we please have good engines so that our railways can run faster and on time to stop making losses," said another hassled Mumbai commuter Ritwik Verma, an advertising professional.

"The minister has proposed a number of ambitious schemes but the moot point is how he is going to generate money for them," asked Sudhir Kumar, a software engineer.

"A number of schemes were proposed in the past few budgets but these have remained to be non-starters. The only silver lining, this year, is the emphasis on safety, recruitment of women in the Railway Protection Force and the proposal for rail tariff authority," said Biju Ummen, a branding professional.

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