‘This is what happens if rail minister is not from state’

With another Railway Budget leaving commuters from the city disappointed, many of them felt the need for a railway minister from the state.

Some of them said lac of one was the reason the state has been getting a raw deal, Pune in particular as compared to Mumbai.

While there was a feeling of relief because a general fare hike was not announced, commuters said the budget will be heavy on pockets owing to the hike in tatkal fares and the increase in surcharge for superfast services.

Abhijeet Patil, a chemical engineer from the city who travels to Mumbai every weekend to be with his family, said, "More trains should have been started between Mumbai and Pune. No matter at what time you board a train, it's always crowded. Plus it would not have mattered if they increased fares, but done something about cleanliness. Hygiene on small-distance trains is horrible."

"Maharashtra has been sidelined for so long because of no railway ministers from here. Pune is always sidelined as compared to Mumbai," added Patil.

The disappointment of having no new trains was not limited to short-distance ones.

"This time again, no new trains were introduced from Pune to Kerala. Existing trains are always full. There are no seats even if you try 2 months in advance. Even tatkal tickets are not available because of agents' hold over it. Hence, we are generally disappointed by the budget," said retired Col Mohan Joseph.

"Secondly, comfort is poor in these trains. It is high time the railways upgraded standards of trains as well as services offered. Every Indian is today ready to pay a bit extra if it means better services or at least conditions fit for humans. Value for money is all we want," said Joseph.

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