Pune: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Union Budget 2018 speech said developing infrastructure - including railways - would continue to be government's priority. World-class train sets, bullet trains, revamp of signaling systems, providing CCTVs and Wi-Fi - were among the promises for the Railway sector. He said 600 stations will be developed with world class facilities like escalators where passenger footfall is above 25,000.
The stations under Pune Railway Division have almost 25,000 footfall every day.
According to a source in the Pune railway division, “The Pune junction alone is visited by more than 1.5 lakh passengers every day. Shivajinagar, Pimpri, Chinchwad, Akurdi, Dehu Road and Talegaon in Pune-Lonavla rail section, Kolhapur and Miraj see more than 25,000 passengers using the services every day.”
An official of the Division said, “Three stations under the Pune division - Pune, Kolhapur and Miraj- already have Wi-Fi facility. In a few months, we will bring all stations under Wi-Fi facility.
The CCTV cameras have already been installed in all stations. The railway track renewal works are undergoing in Pune railway division and will complete soon."
Passenger activists unhappy
However, railway passengers activists are not happy. “Again the Pune division has been neglected. There are no announcements for Pune and not for the other divisions," said Harsha Shah, President, Railway Pravasi Group.
"No new trains were announced but this was expected from Jaitley. When Suresh Prabhu was Railway Minister, he focused on providing allocation to each Division. Jaitley announced improved suburban services to Mumbai with 90 km line doubling of around Rs 11,000 crore and 150-km additional lines worth Rs 40,000 crore for enhancing transportation in Mumbai with expansion of suburban railway system. It means only Mumbai needs improvement, not Pune?"
Vikash Deshpande, Secretary, Daund-Pune-Daund Pravasi Sangh said, “It is understood that Rs 4,240 crore for the third and fourth track for Pune-Lonavla route have been allocated, which may increase till completion of the project. The emphasis is on how the journey of common passengers should be safe and comfortable, rather than providing Wi-Fi facility."