Commuters find the State and the capital city in particular ‘grossly ignored’ in the Railway Budget presented on Tuesday by the NDA government. But they were hopeful about the reform-oriented measures initiated in the Budget, which, they said, augured well for passengers in the long run.

General secretary of the Railway Passengers Association S.K. Jayakumar said the NDA government had toed the same line of the previous UPA one in ignoring the State’s interest when it came to development of Railways.

A gaping hole was the lack of mention in the Budget of the development of the Central station here. The project still remained a dream for the people of the State, he said.

But in general, he said the Railway Minister had generated lots of hope in the sector, as the Budget had unveiled a slew of schemes and measures to modernise the facility and make it commuter-friendly. There were also promises to make it a safe mode of transport.

The thrust on cleanliness, he said was a welcome step, as the aspect never got its due share of importance till now. At a time when the fare was hiked, passengers would in return expect a cosy ride. The government of the day, it seemed, was able to gauge this mood of the public, he said.

Commenting on the safety measures outlined in the budget, Grishma, a commuter, said the decision to recruit 4,000 women to the Railway Protection Force was commendable.

“Now, we will have to wait and see how these steps are going to be implemented. There are women-only compartments but one should travel from Neyyattinkara to Thiruvananthapuram to know how this concept works. During peak hours, a large number of men travel in such compartments,” he said.

Stressing the need for more women-only compartments, she said more women constabulary should be deployed in such compartments to prevent men from entering it.

Better safety

She also wanted the constabulary to be provided communication equipment so that violations could be reported immediately at the railway stations and higher-ups could intervene within a short time.

Bindhu, another passenger, said the government should speed up the process of deploying women police not only on trains but also on platforms. Her fellow passenger, Saraswathi, said Railways should promise that new recruits were well trained to meet the physical challenges that they might confront while dealing with hooligans on the train.