March 8, 2016
Mumtaz Sanghamita speaks on the Railway Budget
Hon’ble Railway Minister have placed many dreamy proposals regarding passenger services, safety, amenities and modernization of stations establishment of freight corridor, new locomotive factory and so on. He has also expressed concern regarding expenditure without much income or provision of income generation provision.
70% of our Railway passengers belong to low and middle income groups. Railways are the major transport in sub-urban and local trains for poor and middle class. The benefit of passenger as well as railway department. The main thing is to increase the passenger load, betterment of passenger amenities, cleanliness of platform and railway tracks as well as train compartments. Most important about Railway journey is punctuality, less time consuming.
The Distribution of clean hygienic bed roles, safe drinking water facilities, clean toilets are more important. Use of SMS to call for toilet cleaning is impractical. Many local trains running 2 to 3 hours as well as even inter-district trains (local) running 6 to 8 hours are lacking toilet facilities. Proper pantry and cooking facilities have been withdrawn from many long distant trains (ex.- Kanchanjunga Express from Sealdah to Guwahati). Bus junction or even Taluka level stations should be provided with lift or escalator facilities and at least pay-toilets at platform.
Instead of making very many new projects like bullet trains, new locomotive factories, unfinished proposal in these regards to be looked after first. Instead of RCTC stalls selling junk food at platforms, there should be provision of Janata canteen supplying local staple foods.
Many of the Railway hospitals are giving high standard service. If this service can be extended to public on payment basis that can generate some income. If Krishi Mandi can be established by Dept. of Railways, it can generate income from this service. No Provision of Superfast trains in big cities and connecting Smart cities with local places would popularize railways.
Many local trains have no toilet facility. Number of female railway police should be increased. Provision of natural gas or solar power running trains trial at least in sub-urban trains can help to reduce environmental pollution and may be cost effective also.