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Rail Budget politically motivated, say Oppn MPs

By Staff
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New Delhi, Feb 24 (UNI) The Rail Budget for 2006-07,presented by Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in the Lok Sabha today, came in for severe criticism by the Bharatiya Janata Party and JD(U) which described it as a politically motivated and partisan Budget.

MPs from BJP, including Harin Pathak, Ananth Kumar and Satya Narayan Jatiya, said the Budget had grossly ignored States like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, and only benefitted the States going to the Assembly polls shortly.

They said the Railway Budget was totally off the track with no development project for the country. Whatever new trains had been introduced were on a weekly basis which was meaningless. ''The country has been taken for a ride.'' The MPs said among the States particularly ignored was Rajasthan, where the tribal belt has not been given any benefit of train facility.

Mr P.L.Mohale (BJP) from Chhattisgarh said Bilaspur Railway Division had been ignored with no new rail line proposed. The demand for setting up a recruitment board too had not been met.

Former Minister of State for Railway Digvijay Singh described the Rail Budget as totally directionless. There was no mention in the Budget of safety measures taken, though this was the main problem of the Railway. The profit earned by the Railway was the result of the efforts made over the years, he said.

MPs from the CPI-M, which is supporting the UPA Government from outside, also criticised the Budget as discriminatory. Mohd Salim flayed the Budget on two counts- the East West freight corridor and the Garib Rath for not giving any benefit to West Bengal. He charged that the Government was drawing a new rail map of India. Those opposing privatisation had been left out of the benefit, he said.

Mr Krishna Das (CPI-M) from Kerala said the demands made by them through a memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister had not been met. There was no reflection of those demands in the Budget.

UNI YS RP BD1513

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