Rail Budget 2016: The Opposition today dismissed as “cosmetic” the changes proposed in the Railway Budget to transform the Indian Railways network, insisting that it was much ado about nothing.
Attacking the budget, NCP’s Tariq Anwar said despite the announcements by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to bring about changes in the organisation, problems still persist.
“It is cosmetic and the problems still persists,” he said, adding that the government had increased the tariff in November before the Railway Budget. He also pointed out that when the then UPA government had hiked the fares in the middle of the year, Narendra Modi, then the Gujarat Chief Minister, had written to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Criticising the ‘Make in India’ programme, RJD’s Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav said problems like security and food quality in the railways still remained unresolved and the organisation was witnessing ‘Back in India’.
Congress member K H Muniyappa said the plans announced by Prabhu sounded good, but he has not said how the projects would be executed and where will the money come from to implement them.
He said that MPs have been demanding that the Railway Minister should announce plans in terms of new trains and infrastructure development like ROBs, but Prabhu has done nothing of that sort for the past two years.
Speaking in favour of the Railway Budget, BJP MP Darshana Jardosh said a lot of developmental work has taken place over the past two years, while her party colleague Ranjanben Bhatt said several steps have been announced to improve the services. She demanded to start a new train to connect Vadodara and Varanasi.
C Mahendran (rpt) C Mahendran (AIADMK) wanted starting of a new train with the name “Annamalai (rpt) Annamalai Express” in Tamil Nadu.
However, Tapas Mandal (TMC) said the Budget has focused only on a few states and has neglected West Bengal. “West bengal is deprived of the Rail Budget 2016-17. Nothing has been given to this state,” he said adding the minister should focus on cleanliness of railway stations. He however welcomed the decision of not hiking the passenger fares.
Emphasising the need to complete all pending projects particularly in Karnataka on time, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda said states too are responsible for the delay.
“When I was in office, I had approved 14 new lines. Still they are not completed. I am not saying that only you are responsible,” he said adding railways need to generate more resources.