The Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee might have lived up to her commitment of presenting a pro-people budget,but eventually,it is the railway employees who are going to bear the burden of increased traffic the end result of the Railway Budget.
Currently,the Pune railway station witnesses an average of 1.5-2 lakh passengers daily. And a combined effect of the economic slowdown,the unchanged ticket rates in addition to the introduction of a monthly pass of Rs 25 for people with lesser than Rs 1,500 of income along with other people-centric facilities,more people will prefer trains over other modes of transport. The traffic will increase drastically. Further,the freight rates are also unchanged,which means that the pressures on cargo section will also go up. Passenger centricity is the utmost priority but in order to meet the increased traffic,staff capacity will also have to be increased, said P K Kulkarni,parcel supervisor,Pune railway station.
Another important announcement is the reduction of tatkal fees from Rs 150 to Rs 100,and the decrease in number of days from five to two. This means that earlier,people could book tatkal tickets five days before the journey,from anywhere in the country. Thus,people would ask their friends or relatives to make tatkal reservations for them from places that were comparatively less crowded,who would then send the tickets via speed post. Now that the number of days available are just two,they wont be able to post the tickets and this along with reduced fees will result in large crowds at bigger centres,such as Pune to buy tickets themselves, said R P Pandey,chief reservation supervisor.
The increased traffic is also bound to put tremendous pressure on the security forces. We are increasing the number of CCTVs from 17 to 34. The CCTV rooms are already manned 24X7,but in order to be more effective,we are planning to train the cleaning staff,porters and rickshaw-walas about the basics of security. Some arrangements are also being done to secure the area topographically, said R R Pandav,inspector in-charge,RPF.
This is certainly a good budget for the Pune section and staff will have to be increased to meet the demands. But people also need to be responsible while travelling and cooperate with railway staff, said Y K Singh,PRO,Central Railway.