Kolkata: Ahead of the Narendra Modi government's first Rail Budget, CNN-IBN's Priyanka Gupta did a status check of the condition of trains in the Kolkata route. The government has said that a bitter pill must be swallowed to improve the Railways' financial health.
The fare hike was a substantial one, but for more than 10 million passengers who depend on Indian Railways every day, the concerns of safety, hygiene and passenger amenities still remain. "We can pay more, fare hike is not a problem but we should also get better food and amenities. The food is horrible. The quantity is less and even the quality," said a passenger. "The bathrooms stink, it's impossible to travel on trains these days," another passenger added.
Safety is a primary concern for the passengers especially for women. With an increase in crimes against women especially on board the local trains, there are some serious questions about the efficiency of Railway safety mechanism.
"It's really unsafe to travel in trains. The men tease us and harass us and there is no RPF anywhere to be found. We feel really unsafe travelling at night. And in compartments where there are men, it's really scary," said a woman passenger.
A modern Indian Railway with amenities better than those at the airports to put India on the development track is the dream of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But with the basic issues of safety, cleanliness and amenities still persisting it might seem like a tall task.