Treat Railways as national property, says Lalu

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New Delhi, Oct 23 (UNI) The Rajya Sabha today returned the the supplementary demands for grants (railways) for 2008-09 to the tune of Rs 526.0170 crore with Railway Minister Lalu passed issuing an appeal for treating rail property as "national property".

Describing the railways as the "lifeline of the country", he regretted that due to the rise of parochialism, rail property had been targeted, tracks and fishplates removed disrupting train movement in different parts of the country.

Such incidents had a repercussion throughout the country, he warned.

"We may have political differences but we have to learn to treat it as national property," he said and urged agitators not to vent their frustration on the Railways.

Mr Prasad said people from all over the country had the right to appear for Central exams and could not be deprived of this right.

"Every citizen is free to appear for a Central job from anywhere in the country," he added.

In this regard, he read out from an editorial appearing in the October 22 edition of "Saamna" translated into Hindi and said that it was a "Shiv Sena confession that Uncle (Bal Thackeray) and nephew (Raj Thackeray) were hand-in-glove". He appealed to the Bharatiya Janata Party to sever ties with parties such as the Shiv Sena and not show any soft corner.

Regarding the attack by the GRF men on sitting MP Virendra Kumar, the minister said the GRP men concerned had been suspended and following a departmental inquiry action would be taken against them for the assault.

However, the minister took credit for the turnaround in the Railways' performance and estimated Rs 1000 crore surplus after settling arrears and dues. He also referred to the speedy work on 45 large projects, including setting up tracks.

Special mention was made of the demand to link Jammu and Kashmir.

The supplementary demand under 'voted' portion is for meeting the additional requirement to progress execution of certain projects identified as national projects and for taking up certain 'out of turn' works during 2008-09, regarded as 'new services/new instruments of services'.

Of the total amount, Rs 526.0030 crore is under capital fund, Rs 85,000 under railway funds and Rs 55,000 under railway safety fund.

UNI SD RL AS1928

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