Rail budget get a thumbs up from passengers

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New Delhi, Feb 26: Introduction of faster trains, free wi-fi, cameras for women safety and no hike in passenger fares above all has left commuters delighted, a majority of whom gave a thumbs up to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu's maiden rail budget presented Thursday.

Passengers at many of the railway stations in the national capital felt that the budget was "satisfactory" and while the older generation was pleased with no hike in fares and greater emphasis on security, free wi-fi, more charging points inside trains and bio-degradable toilets left the younger ones impressed.

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"I would say the budget is satisfactory and have met my expectations. The main highlight is that the fares have not been raised," 52-year-old Raman Anand, who often travels to Lucknow and Agra for business, told IANS at the New Delhi Railway Station.

The minister in his maiden budget for Indian Railways announced passenger train speeds to be increased by 50 percent on nine key routes, user-friendly ladders to mount upper berths, wi-fi in 400 stations, more money for escalators, 17,000 bio-toilets in trains, better connectivity in north-east and cameras for safety of women travellers among other highlights.

Steps taken for women security like installation of closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs), a toll-free helpline and a mobile application to redress complaints were praised by all especially women.

Anjum, a 56-year-old homemaker travelling to Mysuru felt installation of cameras in women coaches and toll free helpline for security related complaints will act as a deterrent.

"These steps will instill fear in the minds of those who indulge in such acts because they know that they are being watched. Maybe, things will improve now," the hopeful mother of two told IANS outside Nizamuddin station in south Delhi.

Youngsters applauded the minister's decision to install more charging points, free wi-fi and bio-degradable toilets.

"These are positive steps taken towards modernising railways which is a must. If these are implemented successfully, train travel will surely become an effective alternate to travelling by air," said 23-year-old Gurjot Jolly at the New Delhi Railway Station.

However, there were some who were skeptical about the implementation of the projects as well as the fact that no new trains were introduced.

"Mainland India needs to connect with its villages and far-flung regions which remain undeveloped due to lack of connectivity. The minister has failed to address this issue," opined Charan Das, a resident of Patna visiting relatives in Delhi, told IANS.

Rajni Singh, 34, was apprehensive about the timely and effective execution of the proposed projects.

"I doubt if all the promises will be kept," said the central government employee from Uttar Pradesh visiting the national capital for a friend's wedding.

IANS

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