The disheartening part of the announcements made regarding IRCTC is that the new system will require the users to pay more for availing the booking service.
Manish Srivastava, currently living in Noida, hails from Siwan district of Bihar, and is a regular user of IRCTC website. When he heard about the budgetary announcement about the next generation IRCTC website, he expressed relief that the experience of booking e-ticket may now become hassle-free.
“Oh, it is a big step for thousands of those people who book Internet tickets using railways’ official website. However, it is just an announcement. Let's see when it becomes practical. But the bad thing is that we have to pay more for an improvement, which should obviously be there,” Manish told this citizen journalist .
The passengers have also expressed unhappiness over the back door hike in ticket prices. Though there is no hike in base price of a ticket but the rail budget has raised reservation fee, cancellation charges and tatkal ticketing charges.
The positive part of the rail budget is that the minister has announced 67 new express trains and 24 new passenger trains. However, opposition has slammed Pawan Kumar Bansal accusing him of giving undue favor to Rae Bareily, the constituency of the Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. Not only Opposition but community organizations have also criticized the rail minister for “ignoring” certain parts of the country while announcing new trains.
Kolkata-based Churu Nagarik Parishad, a community of people of Rajasthan living in eastern Indian state West Bengal has expressed disappointment over the rail budget, saying that their long standing demand of increasing the frequency of weekly Howrah-Jaisalmer express has been ignored despite their continuous reminders to railway ministry.
“The Rail Minister has disappointed lakhs of people of Rajasthan staying in Kolkata as well as tourists, as the minister has not fulfilled the long pending demand for Increase of frequency of Howrah- Jaisalmer Express (weekly) Train No.12371/12372 from weekly to at least three days in a week. We had written to Pawan Bansal, the minister as well as Adhir Ranjan Choudhury, minister of State for railways but they have ignored our bonafide demand,” Narayan Jain, President of Churu Nagarik Parishad said in a statement.
The rail budget has announced new trains as well increase in frequency of trains going towards religious places. The minister, in his speech, had announced that two new AC trains each from New Delhi and Kalka to Katra in Jammu and Kashmir will be introduced for the sake of pilgrims going to Vaishno Devi shrine.
“The budget should be appreciated for taking extra care towards religious destinations which was necessary also in a country where people by and large are highly religious, and also as a check to prevent stampede like happened recently at Allahabad on the main bath-day of Kumbh. Introduction of a train to cover destinations related to freedom-movement with concessional fares is also welcome,” said Subhash Agrawal, a renowned RTI activist.
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