Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday said the railway budget presented by railway minister Sadanand Gowda was "quite disappointing". "There's nothing in it for Maharashtra. We had asked the government to start various rail services and projects, but in vain. There is no concrete provision for MUTP projects and this can spell trouble for the ongoing railway projects in Mumbai," he said.
Chavan alleged that the BJP MPs elected from the city and state had failed to bring any major railway projects. "The railway ministry increased the fare by 14.5%. We had expected the government would make some diligent effort to roll back the hike on budget day. On this front also, nothing has been done. The government announced the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train, but this decision was taken by the last UPA government," he added.
Echoing Chavan, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said by allowing FDI and undertaking major railway projects through the public-private partnership model shows the Centre is more inclined to privatise Indian Railway.
"The government should instead work to generate employment. Privatisation is not a good sign for the country. In India, almost 2.20 lakh people travel in trains. Out of this, in Mumbai, nearly 84 lakh travel in packed locals. And yet, the government has disappointed Mumbaikars. There was talk of giving a push to the elevated CST-Panvel and Churchgate-Virar trains, but no satisfactory announcement was made in this regard as well," Malik said.
More criticism came from Congress MP and former CM Ashok Chavan, who called it a "super flop" rail budget. "It did not meet the common man's expectations. The BJP-led government had promised many things before election, but all its promises are falling flat now. There was no vision in the budget," he added.
However, city BJP president Ashish Shelar and BJP legislator from South Mumbai Mangal Prabhat Lodha lauded Gowda for presenting a development-oriented budget. They said he has announced several projects and these will change the face of rail travel in the years to come.