West Bengal welcomes Mamata’s rail budget

February 25th, 2011 - 10:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, Feb 25 (IANS) The people of West Bengal Friday welcomed Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee’s budget but wondered if the projects would actually take off.”We are happy with the rail budget. Many trains have been given to Bengal. Many projects have been proposed in this budget just like other budgets, but it was limited to stone laying ceremonies only,” said Prasanta Banerjee, a serviceman who is a daily passenger from Krishnanagar to Sealdah.

“I welcome this budget because train fares and freight rates have not been raised at this point of time when prices of essentials are increasing everyday,” said Gargi Adhikary, a regular Metro Railway passenger.

Sparing passengers and the industry from fare and freight hikes yet again, Banerjee Friday presented the rail budget for 2011-12 with the highest investment of Rs.57,630 crore ($12.7 billion), 68 new trains and a vow to build a stronger railroad infrastructure based on the Vision 2020 document.

“Many projects have been announced but I don’t know how many projects will see the light of day. Last year many projects were announced but most of them have been limited to stone-laying ceremonies,” said Ranjit Mondol, a 50-year-old businessman.

Banerjee announced a new Metro coach factory at Singur, 15 new suburban trains and 34 new Metro services for Kolkata. Several of the new trains, extensions and enhanced frequencies also pertain to her home state.

“From media reports I have come to know that the Indian Railways is bankrupt, but the rail budget has many promises but no clear direction of how these will be fulfilled,” said Chandana Roy.

In the previous two rail budgets for the United Progressive Alliance government (UPA), Banerjee had announced 57 new trains in 2009-10 and another 54 a year later, without altering the freight or passenger tariff rates.

“Many trains have been announced, it’s good but has she looked into the matter of increasing the frequency of services and maintaining the time which has gone haywire in last two years,” said Asit Ghosh, a regular passenger on the Howrah-Burdwan suburban route.

“She has increased stations of Metro trains but has she ever seen the scenario of Metro trains during office hours. The experience is like travelling through hell. What is she doing for improving that condition,” said Prasun Roy, an office-goer.

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