Railway budget full of lofty ideas but no action plan: Nitish Kumar

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Patna, Feb 26: Unimpressed with the Railway budget presented in Parliament today, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said it was full of "lofty ideas but without any action plan."

"Its like there is a train coach but no passenger," Kumar, who served as Railway minister during NDA regime of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, told reporters.

Nitish and Lalu

Kumar, who saw the entire proceeding of presentation of Railway budget on TV, said though it sounds good that there was no announcement of fare hike, "but seeing slide in prices of diesel due to downslide in international pricing, the fares should have been slashed in fact."

"Bhasan hai par karya yojna nahi hai" (its full of speech but san action plan), he said and apparently took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi by saying "though the budget was read by Suresh Prabhu it was prepared much earlier by somebody else."

The Bihar CM expressed disappointment over lack of any announcement regarding pending Railway projects in Bihar like two production units in Chapra and Madhepura started by Railway minister in UPA I Lalu Prasad.

"Likewise there is no clarity on future of mega Railway bridges three of which are in Bihar," he said. On announcement about new trains and increasing frequency of existing ones would be taken up later on, Kumar sarcastically said "the Railway budget seems divided into pieces."

He commented that stress on PPP model in Railways brings the apprehension about "attempt at privatisation of Railway through back door." On promise of running bullet train in between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, he said his experience in Railway says "it is impractical."

"Such ideas (bullet train) are good for showcasing but it does not seem feasible as it would require a huge investment and large scale acquisition of land," he said.

About new design of coaches and increasing width of door, Kumar said these ideas had come during his tenure as Railway minister. He said Narendra Modi government was trying to win claps by extending Railway network in Jammu & Kashmir and north-eastern states of Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh whereas the fact was that these were started earlier.

"Narendra Modi government is fortunate that completion of Railway projects in J&K and the North East is happening during its time," he said.

PTI

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