Mumbaikars not satisfied with Railway Budget

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Mumbai, Feb 26 (UNI) Mumbaikars are not very happy with the Railway Budget announced by Railway Minister Lalu Prasad today.

They complained that no announcements have been made for improvement of services in the city. The various passenger associations in the city have condemned the budget and are of the opinion that much more could have been done.

''By and large the budget has been good, but not much has been done for improving the services in Mumbai,'' said Deepak Gandhi, the General Secretary of the Suburban Train Passengers Association.

''Additional rakes have been laid on the Western line and main lines with the help of which 3,800 services can be run in the city but the railways is running only 2,600 services,'' he added.

Madhu Kotian, president of the Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh said the Railway Minister has made a fool of Mumbaikars for the fourth consecutive year and nothing much has been done for the rail services in the city.

''There was no announcement for the funding of MUTP II in Mumbai nor was there any announcement for improving the facilities in the local trains in the city, even though more than 65 lakh passengers travel every day in local trains,'' added Mr Kotian.

Presenting the Railway Budget for 2008-2009 in the Lok Sabha today, the Union Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav announced the availability of railway ticket, monthly season ticket and platform ticket on smart card in Mumbai Suburban Service. This service would be launched by the end of next month. The Central Railways has already started trial run for this purpose through public-private partnership.

The Railway Minister informed that the multi purpose card has been named ''Go Mumbai Card'' and these cards would be available at stations, BEST bus depots and various other locations in the city.

He clarified that there would be no extra burden on passengers for buying tickets through the smart card. However, only a marginal fee would be payable on buying and recharging of the card.

UNI AAA/JN SR RJ HS1940

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