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Dreams derailed

Mumbai,which accounts for half the Indian Railways’ daily passenger load of 1.25 crore,was left with a familiar feeling on Friday: the railway budget had once again given th city a raw deal.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: July 4, 2009 11:59:15 pm

Mumbai,which accounts for half the Indian Railways’ daily passenger load of 1.25 crore,was left with a familiar feeling on Friday: the railway budget had once again given th city a raw deal.

Passenger associations felt that Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee,barring some symbolic gestures,had done little to boost the creaking suburban network that is the lifeline of the financial capital.

Rail officials in the city,however,pointed at what the city did get. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is one of the 50 stations chosen across the country to be developed as World Class Stations. The railway minister has also included 38 suburban stations to be developed as Adarsh (ideal) Stations,with facilities such as drinking water,catering service,waiting rooms and dormitories,especially for women passengers. The budget also includes a proposal to set up a factory at Kanchrapara-Halisdar with a capacity of 500 EMU/MEMU rakes.

Commuters were not impressed. “The budget is good for the country and the state but bad for the city. Even the Adarsh Station scheme was announced by Lalu Yadav in his budget but it has not happened,” said Madhu Kotain,president of the Mumbai Rail Pravasi Mahasangh. “We plan to protest,” said Shailendra Kamble,convenor Pravaasi Adhikar Andolan Samiti (PAAS).

Sanjay Nirupam,MP,praised the budget. “Mamata had assured me she would fulfil the city’s demands. Since the request was only restricted to Mumbai city,it has not found any mention in the budget. The new Izzat scheme for people of the unrecognised sector living below the poverty line will also help city commuters.” The scheme involves a concessionary monthly season ticket for Rs 25.

The budget makes no mention of the Rs 800-crore project for including,in MUTP Phase II,the introduction of 12 car-rakes on the harbour line project. Last month,the chief minister had written to Mamata requesting her to do so.

“Work amounting to Rs 1400 crore under Phase I and Rs 5,175 crore under Phase II is still pending. The amount sanctioned is very little. This is like rubbing salt to city commuters’ wound,” said former railway minister Ram Naik.

Rail officials,however,say some budgetary provisions have been made for the city though they were not mentioned in the budget document. “The ministry has sanctioned Rs 14.5 crore for constructing a new platform,6A at Borivali,” said Shyam Sundar Gupta,chief spokesperson,Western Railway.

P C Sehgal,managing director of Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC),said,“The rail ministry has sanctioned Rs 304 crore for MUTP Phase I and Rs 125 for MUTP Phase II for the financial year. The state government,too,would give us equal amounts.”

The money would be spent on the Virar car-shed already under construction,addition of the fifth and sixth lines between Thane to Kurla and Thane to Diva,DC-to-AC conversion,extension of harbour line to Goregaon and purchase of new rakes.

City wanted
: 12-car-rake project on harbour line to be included in MUTP phase II

City got: No mention

City wanted: Allocation for Grant Road Terminus to decongest WR traffic

City got: No mention

City wanted: Budgetary provision for platform no 6A at Borivali

City got: Rs 14.5 crore

Silver lining
* CST to be developed as a World Class Station
* Adarsh Stations to be developed at Andheri,Bandra,Belapur,Bhandup,Bhayander,Borivali,Charni Road,Chembur,Churchgate,Currey Road,Dadar,Dahanu Road,Dockyard Road,Dombivli,Ghatkopar,Goregaon,Karjat,Kasara,Khopoli,King’s Circle,Kurla,Malad,Marine Lines,Matunga,Mira Road,Mulund,Mumbai Central,Nahur,Naigaon,Panvel,Saphale,Sewri,Tilak Nagar,Turbhe,Ulhasnagar,Vashi,Virar

Union ministers from Maharashtra and city MPs should resign over the neglect of Mumbai in the budget. The Congress is trying to see how more migrants can enter the city by starting more trains from outside

Ramdas Kadam,Leader of Opposition
Mumbai and Maharashtra contribute most to railway income but have been ignored. No allocations for Vidarbha pending projects

Pandurang Fundkar,Leader of Opposition,SLC
Many projects pending,Mamata is continuing Lalu’s stepmotherly treatment to Mumbai commuters. She did not heed my suggestion to introduce additional ladies special locals on Central and Western Lines during peak hours,though she did so in Kolkata and Chennai

Ram Naik,Former Railway Minister
There seem to be regional railway ministers instead of a national one

Shirish Parkar,MNS spokesperson
Mamata Banerjee’s fast train does not halt in Maharashtra. The budget has forgotten the state that has given more than half of its MPs to the government.

Gopinath Munde,BJP general secretary
There were announcements on long-distance and non-stop trains but suburban railways have been ignored

Nitin Gadkari,State president,BJP

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