‘Gujarat ignored in rail budget’


Ahmedabad : A cross section of people here said Gujarat has been ignored in the railway budget presented to the Lok Sabha Tuesday.

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It was only to be expected, said Jairam Thakker, an employee in a private sector organisation.

“After BJP’s (Bharatiya Janata Party) recent win, one could hardly expect Railway Minister Lalu Prasad to provide any largesse to the state,” he said.

He said that out of 53 new trains, only the weekly air-conditioned service to Mumbai was of any significance. The other two weekly rail services announced provide connectivity to far off Assam and Bihar, he added.

A bunch of college students said they were not excited by the rail budget. They said provisions for students were of little consequence.

Free season tickets to girl students till graduation was not significant because students in the state do not commute by rail to attend college.

Umaben Parikh and Savithaben Joshi, both housewives, welcomed the slashing of fares by 50 percent for senior women citizens. They said they would now consider travelling on air-conditioned coaches.

However, they said cleanliness was a big casualty in long-distance trains.

The railway minister has not proposed any measures for checking overcrowding in second-class sleeper coaches, which has now become a routine, they pointed out.

The Gujarat Chambers of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) welcomed the cut in railway freight in petrol and diesel.

This was a step in the right direction to keep inflation under control as well as partially compensate people who had to fork out more for fuel due to the recent hikes in petrol and diesel, it said.

Parul Jaykrishna, president of GCCI, congratulating the railway minister for continuing to show profit that is helping the railways to undertake development projects, said Lalu Prasad has handed out a “step-motherly treatment” for Gujarat in the matter of providing additional train services from the state.

She welcomed the proposal to prepare Rail Vision 2025 but urged the minister to set up zone-level committees that could provide inputs for the vision.