Opposition parties pick holes in rail budget

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New Delhi, Jul 14: Opposition members on Monday picked holes in the rail budget and questioned how the ambitious agenda outlined in it would be implemented by the cash-strapped railways as there is no budgetary support from the government unlike China and other developed nations.

Congress member and former Railway Minister K H Muniyappa criticised the provisions in the rail budget for PPP model of development, saying the NDA government was trying to "sell out" the public sector units to private players. He said the budget did not reflect national interest and reminded the Railway Minister that he was not the railway minister only for Karnataka and Gujarat.

Noting that the previous UPA government had sanctioned several trains to connect Porbandhar in Gujarat to rest of the country, Muniyappa said there was no mention about Mahatma Gandhi's birthplace in the budget. He also alleged that when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, he did not provide land for building rail coach factory in Gujarat.

Trinamool Congress member and former Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi said the largest public transporter has been in bad condition and time has come to improve the situation to ensure that it does not remain just a mode of transport for the poor but also contributes to the GDP.

He referred to the proposals in the budget for undertaking various projects through the PPP mode and questioned which private company would be interested in aspects like construction of overbridges and underbridges.

Referring to the proposal for running bullet trains, Trivedi said a strong infrastructure for the same needs to be put in place before such a project could be taken up. He wondered as to why comparison was being made with China.

"Government in China gives 160 billion USD to the railways but here the government gives only 10-12 billion USD," the former Railway Minister said. 


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