Railway budget evokes mixed response

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Kolkata, Feb 26(UNI) Criticising the Railway budget for giving West Bengal a raw deal, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee today alleged that the Left MPs had failed to protect the state's interest.

''It is regrettable that West Bengal has been neglected in the budget. The state has been given a raw deal in terms of introduction of new trains and other proposals,'' she told reporters.

The former Railway Minister said while the budget proposed introduction of only three new weekly trains in West Bengal, there was no provision for a 'Garib Rath'.

She said the budget made no provision for laying new tracks in the state, nor was there any proposal for gauge conversion or better passenger amenities.

'' It seems that the UPA-supporting MPs, representing West Bengal, have failed in their duty to extract benefit for the state,'' she said.

CPI(M) state Secretary Biman Basu said it would have been better had there been provision for new railway projects in West Bengal.

He, however, said the budget did not deserve a strong criticism since it had some good aspects and was comparatively better than the general budgets of the UPA Government.

Meanwhile, describing the railway budget as a 'gimmick', BJP state Secretary Rahul Sinha said it was aimed at the coming elections and shorn of some essential aspects like passenger comfort and safety.

Describing the Railway budget as ''pro-people,'' Centre of Indian Trade Union(CITU) state president Shyamal Chakraborty said said '' The 2008-2009 Railway budget is people-oriented and the credit goes to Mr Prasad alone because he has prepared this budget for the common people.'' UNI KDG KK SYU VC2101

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