Jamshedpur, Feb. 25: Railway minister Suresh Prabhu’s Railway Budget for the 2016-17 fiscal proved to be a damp squib for residents in the Chakradharpur division of South-Eastern Railway (SER), which is the highest revenue earning railway division in terms of freight in the country. The railway budget turned out to be a major upset, especially for the traders’ community.
Officials of Chottanagpur Passengers’ Association said that the minister has not allocated any new trains, even as the association has been favoring new trains connecting the steel.
U K Srivastava, an office bearer of Chottanagpur Passengers’ Association, expressed concerns that Jharkhand has been neglected in the Budget. He said that the traders too were pinning hopes on the government, but the Budget has not lived up to their expectations.
However another official noted, “We are delighted to note that in this railway budget, besides other steps taken for the safety of passengers, the railways have ensured safety for women.”
Meanwhile, a senior official of Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) said that the minister should have introduced a new train connecting Tatanagar to Jaipur, which they had been demanding over the years.
“We had sought increase in the frequency of the Puri-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, which plies via Tatanagar, and the Tata-Yeshwantpur Express keeping in view the passengers’ demand. In our memorandum to the railway minister we had also demanded a direct train between Tatanagar and Jaipur, as a sizeable number of traders travel to the pink city,” said Suresh Sonthalia, president of SCCI.
Trade bodies and passenger associations regretted the fact that Chakradharpur, which rakes in annual revenue of over Rs 5,000 crore and is an industry hub, has not been given fair deal.
“Chakradharpur was not given a single new train. We were expecting introduction of at least some in the division.
It is also surprising that there was no mention of the ambitious Kandra-Namkum railway project, which aims at reducing travelling time between Jamshedpur and Ranchi,” said S P Trivedi, an executive member of Chhotanagpur Passengers’ Association.
Another senior functionary of the passenger’s outfit went on to say that their wish for a Jan Shatabdi between Tatanagar and Patna through the shortest route also remained unfulfilled. “It is really saddening that no new trains have been introduced in the Tata-Patna route for the last three decades.
There has been much demand for trains in that particular route as a sizeable number of people from the steel city and other parts of Kolhan travel to Patna during festivals and other occasions,” he pointed out.
Stepping out of the normal track, industrialist and Jamshedpur Citizens’ Forum president, A K Srivastava hailed the railway minister for presenting a practical Budget.
According to Srivastava, the minister avoided a populist Budget by concentrating on the needs of the people as well as the Railways. “Several salient features of this Budget are praiseworthy,” he said in a statement.