Railway Budget aimed at LS polls: Jaya

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Chennai, Feb 26 (UNI) Former Tamil Nadu Chief Miniser and AIADMK General Secretary J Jayalalithaa today said the Railway Budget was presented with an eye on the Lok Sabha elections and lacked farsightedness and vision.

Reacting to the budget proposals, Ms Jayalalithaa, in a statement here said Mr Lalu Prasad's last budget was purported to be a ''please all'' budget, but all that it has done was to please the Minister himself immensely.

Few populist measures for senior citizens, women and girl students have been announced, taking into account the vote bank right across the country, she said.

Though the fares for all the classes have been reduced, it was unfortunate that the reduction was only five per cent on the fares of the second class, which was used by the common man, when compared to seven per cent on the fares for first class AC.

This could have been done the other way round, she said.

Despite the Railway Minister's claim that it has been profit all the way for the Railways, the fare cuts announced were only marginal and this was most surpirising, Ms Jayalalithaa said.

The Minister claims that Railways ended up with a profit of Rs 25,000 crore in the financial year 2007-08 and Rs 68,000 crore surplus in all the four years, but investment on new projects, like new lines, track upgradation and track increase was low, she said.

As far as Tamil Nadu was concerned, she said apart from extension of a few trains, no substantial changes have been made.

''Although the Railway budget makes provision for adding new railway lines, doubling railway lines and gauge conversion projects, it is highly disappointing that no announcement has been made in respect of new route connecting coastal districts of southern Tamil Nadu'', Ms Jayalalithaa added.


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