Rail Budget Disappoints Karnataka, Says FKCCI

Bangalore, February 26: | Updated: Feb 27 2003, 05:30am hrs
Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) has described the Railway budget as a subdued affair. In a statement FKCCI president KN Jayalingappa said though the railway minister has refrained from hiking passenger and freight charges it remains to be seen how the railways will be able to mobilise resources for the various development works.

"Though one does not see bold initiatives in taking up railway development in the budget, we hope that the various measures envisaged will at least consolidate the operational performance of the railways in the country", he said.

However, Mr Jayalingappa said "as far as Karnataka is concerned the budget is quite disappointing as there is no word about many important projects pending completion not to speak of new initiatives". Execution of Hubli-Ankola broad gauge line would have greatly added to the economic lifeline of the region by opening the Tadri port if an integrated view was taken but there is no mention of it in the budget, he said.

Mr Jayalingappa also said that "one only hopes that that Hassan-Mangalore rail work would not be further delayed on any account as otherwise exports from the state would be affected".

However, he welcomed the proposals for improving safety, introducing new trains and opening new routes. "So also is the introduction of new trains between Bangalore and many other parts of the country and the new stockyard in Whitelfied".

The Greater Mysore Chamber of Industry president Harbans Thukral said the "railway budget can be described as non-controversial with no concrete proposals for bringing about modernisation and innovation." He said that the state government also needs to move forward with speed and commitment on existing projects for which funds have already been allocated by the railways in the previous budgets. Mr Thukral highlighted the introduction of train between Bangalore-Salem, pilot project on Internet Kiosks in New Delhi station etc as major steps in the budget. He welcomes the proposal for reclassifaction of freight rates on commodities in order to bring down freight rates.