Friday, July 18, 2014

Rail Budget 2014: Six new trains for Bihar

PATNA: Unlike the earlier years, the rail budget 2014-2015 has failed to enthuse people of Bihar which has given the maximum number of railway ministers namely Jagjiwan Ram, Ram Subhag Singh, L N Mishra, Kedar Pandey, Ram Vilas Paswan, Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad and Digvijay Singh (minister of state). The funds allocation for Bihar projects is also all-time low.

In the name of new trains, Bihar has got four Jansadharan Express proposed to be run on Darbhanga-Ahmedabad, Jayanagar-Mumbai, Saharsa-Anand Vihar (Delhi) and Saharsa-Amritsar routes. New weekly trains on the Patna-Ahmedabad and Chhapra-Lucknow routes have also been announced. Besides, Anand Vihar-Sasaram Garib Rath has been extended up to Gaya. Otherwise, Bihar has got nothing in this rail budget.
The state used to get a bundle of new trains during the period of former railway ministers Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad. Lalu had once given about 27 new trains to Bihar. During his tenure, Bihar had got all major railway factories, except for coach manufacturing. Railway projects worth over Rs 35,000 crore were allocated to Bihar during Lalu's period.

In 1996-97, the then railway minister, Ram Vilas Paswan, had introduced Hajipur railway zone while ECR was created during Nitish's regime. He was also instrumental in modernizing railways. Funds for safety were also raised during his tenure. The superfast Sampoorna Kranti Express was his brain child whereas AC Garib Rath was Lalu's baby as a gift to common people to travel in AC. During the past 10 to 12 years, rail budget was known as Bihar's budget in railway parlance. But now Bihar is no more the main beneficiary.
Patna Junction has not been given any superfast train for Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. About one lakh passengers travel daily from Patna Junction to different destinations. Yet, Patna was denied any Duronto or Premium train. This rail budget is also silent on the issue of starting electric loco manufacturing factory at Madhepura and diesel loco manufacturing factory at Marhaura in Saran district. More funds were expected to complete Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge, but it is not even mentioned.

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