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The suburban railway commuters' bodies today said they were disappointed by the Rail Budget 2013 as it has overlooked the hardships faced by about 75 lakh daily commuters even as the railway minister P K Bansal announced the much awaited introduction of AC local from the next fiscal.
"The suburban commuters had a lot of expectations from Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal. But his budget has been disappointing in many ways," National Railway Users' Consultative Committee member Subhash Gupta said.
Besides announcing introduction of 72 new local services across the suburban rail network in Mumbai, Bansal also acceded to the long-pending demand of an AC local.
With around 75 lakh people using the suburban rail network every day in the country's financial capital, local trains carry more than twice their capacity in the peak hours.
"The previous Railways Minister Dinesh Trivedi also had made a similar announcement in the last budget, saying there will be 75 new services across suburban network but even that promise has not yet been fulfilled due to shortage of rakes," Gupta said.
Mumbaikars were pinning hopes on Bansal as he is the first Railway Minister from a national party in the last 16 years, Gupta said, adding, "But that hope has been dashed as he completely overlooked the hardships faced by the 75 lakh daily suburban commuters."
Echoing Gupta's view, Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh general secretary, Kailash Verma said, "The suburban commuters have been given a short-shrift by the Railway Minister in the budget."
"We were expecting capacity addition in the local services by converting 12 rake trains into 15 rakes and nine rakes into 12 rakes. Here also the minister has disappointed us," Verma said.