New Delhi: The railway
budget 2011-12 got mixed reactions from the two major metros, New
Delhi and Mumbai, while Kolkata welcomed it. Delhiites more or
less hailed the budget and said more facilities need to be
provided, while Mumbaikars said they had expected more.
"It is a positive and a visionary budget focused on the common and
poor people of India. I think the minister needs to be appreciated
and thanked for it. The lowering of age by two years for senior
citizens is a welcome step," said Madhav Sekhri, a businessman
from Delhi who turned 59 last month.
Presenting her third budget, the ministers' announcement of
providing 16,000 ex-servicemen jobs in railways came as a pleasant
surprise especially for those attached to the armed forces.
"It is a very good initiative by the minister to induct
ex-servicemen in the railways. It is a recognition of their
service to the nation as they guard the country by putting their
lives at stake," Surabhi Jaitley, whose father and brother are
serving in the army.
According to Ram Sharan, a central government employee who lost
the use of his legs due to polio, welcomed the concessions
announced. "With the concessions on Rajdhani and Shatabdi express,
I can now afford to travel in comfort and luxury without burning a
hole in my pocket," Sharan said.
However, some argued that the minister needs to maintain basic
amenities and increase the frequency of trains on some particular
routes, and keep a strong vigil on the security.
"The minister instead of introducing new trains should concentrate
more on the upgradation of basic amenities like increasing
frequency of some of the existing popular trains, cleanliness on
platforms, toilets, clean drinking water and much better security
measures," said Satya Rana who works in south Delhi and commutes
daily by train from Palwal, Haryana.
In Mumbai, daily commuters were not too happy despite the increase
in number of suburban trains and in the length of coaches
announced. Public relations professional Anukul Bhavsar, who
travels a distance of around 40 km via local train one way, said
there is a requirement of more fast trains on the central line.
"Fast trains on the central line operate only during peak hours.
Their frequency should be increased," Bhavsar said.
Administration professional Naina Sharma said the budget has no
benefits for the commoner. "Concessions for senior citizens,
benefits for the handicapped are fine. But what about adding more
trains to reduce the passenger rush in each train," she
"People are crammed in trains like animals during peak hours. Our
railway minister has to visit Mumbai and take time to understand
how the city works. It is then only that she will be able to
understand the situation and work positively towards making it
better," Sharma added.
In Kolkata, most people welcomed the budget that has many sops for
the poll-bound state. "Singur and Darjeeling are politically
disturbed places. Mamata Banerjee proposes to set up factories
there. If the factories come up in those areas, then it will be
really good," said Bipul Malakar, professor of economics at
"I hail Banerjee's proposal to build a multi-disciplinary training
centre in Kurseong as it is an industrially backward place. The
people in Kurseong and Darjeeling are very frustrated as there is
no source of employment except tourism."
"Railway investment in those areas will create forward and
backward linkages through which employment will be generated," he