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Only cosmetic changes made to 2020 Railway budget, say experts

HYDERABAD:  The Union Railway budget of 2020 has proved to be quite a dampener for economists and officials alike, as no new facilities or allocations were announced for railways at zonal levels, except for Bengaluru’s suburban transport system and Tejas Express between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

Calling the six major highlights of the Railway budget as cosmetic, experts hoped that new high-speed trains and Railway Medical College would be announced for Telangana but nothing happened. Speaking to Express, economist Mohan Guruswamy, former advisor to Union Finance Minister, said, “The railways budget is disappointing to say the least. It has a pan-India overview with no specific concentration on State level. Telangana requires high-speed trains to connect tier II and tier III towns to cities. However, nothing was mentioned about increasing actual railway infrastructure of laying new tracks, expanding new lines or building new yards. Instead, it said 550 Wifi facilities across stations would be provided.”

It would be interesting to note that the South Central Railway has already covered 574 stations with Wifi facilities, including 200 stations in Telangana alone. Adding to this, a source from SCR said, “The proposal of a medical college for Railways was made almost half a decade back. This was to be set up near Secunderabad with the existing Railway Hospital. The medical college would function on the lines of Army Medical College. There was no mention of that also in the budget,” he said

Guruswamy further added, “While the concept of Krishi Line to build a seamless national cold supply chain for perishables was introduced, refrigerated vehicles to transport fruits and fish has been in existence for a long time now.”