We were hoping to get new trains...but nothing happened’

The "popular and forward looking" rail budget presented on Tuesday, which earned praise for Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, had little to offer for Puneites.

The minister announced 67 new express trains, 26 new passenger trains, five new mainline electrical multiple units (MEMU), eight diesel electric multiple units (DEMU), but there wasn't a single new announcement for Pune division, which, as per estimates, contributes a revenue of around Rs 700 crore per annum. The citizen and commuters' groups have blamed the Pune division authorities and public representatives for not pushing for much needed projects.

While railway officials said the division got a raw deal in terms of new trains because of the lack of infrastructure at the Pune railway station, no allocation was made for any infrastructure upgrade for Pune division either. Thus, the chances of Pune getting any new train in the future are also dim. Also, there was no announcement in terms of allocation of funds to upgrade the Pune railway station to international standards.

According to commuter groups, the city got a worse deal than last year, when the city was given a new train and a couple of infrastructure upgrade projects. "The rail budget is a huge disappointment. We were hoping to get several new trains and increased frequency of some popular trains. Nothing in that regard has been done. Apart from the Ministry of Railways, I would also blame Pune division officials for this. It was their responsibility to prepare an implementable draft of their proposal and push for it. They clearly seem to have failed in doing their job," said Harsha Shah of Railway Pravasi Group.

Chandmal Parmar, chairman of Railway Road Traffic Management Committee of the MCCIA, said, "None of our long standing demands has been met. There is no announcement in terms of development of a new local terminal at Shivajinagar, laying an additional line between Pune and Lonavala, new Shatabdi trains, and additional trains for Delhi, Kolkata and Ahmedabad."

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