Rail budget: City sees no hope as last year’s plans yet to be realised

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Even as a new railway budget is set to be presented on Tuesday, promises made and projects declared during the last budget for the Pune Division are nowhere close to be being realised.

Pune-Amravati Express, the only new train that the 2012-budget gave to the city, is still stuck and railway officials are grappling to aet a deadline for its launch.

Last year, then Union Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi had declared an Amravati-Pune bi-weekly express via Akola, Purna and Latur. According to railway officials of the Pune Division the train can start next week or can take an infinitely long time.

"We haven't received any information regrading the Pune-Amravati Railway project from the higher authorities. The train was announced in the last budget. So ideally, it should have been started in the financial year 2012-13. But as of now, no concrete steps have been taken," said a Pune Division official.

The citizen and commuter groups have been demanding new trains to some important north and south Indian cities and increase in frequency of popular trains. Last year, industrial bodies were hoping to get at least half a dozen new trains to cities such as Amritsar, Chennai, Ranchi, Palitana and Howrah. But the railway budget had come as a huge disappointment. There has also been no progress vis-a-vis two other announcements that were made last year? a new railway line between Pune-Nashik and electrification of Miraj-Pune stretch.

Railway officials said the electrification of the Pune-Daund stretch has recently started and after that is done, the Pune-Nashik electrification work might start.

According to Railway Pravasi Group president Harsha Shah, while railway administration is quick to announce projects, it doesn't care to provide resources necessary for their implementation.

"The launch of Pune-Amravati train is pending for want of infrastructure. The Pune Division doesn't have a rake to begin with. Also the work of laying a new Pune-Nashik line is pending because of resistance by farmers to land acquisition," said Shah.

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