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Rail Budget lacks 'vision, mission, revenue': BJP

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 6 (UNI) The BJP today flayed the government for lacking ''vision, mission and revenue'' in the Rail Budget, saying whatever rosy picture it presented, was the result of the country's overall economic growth and former Railway Minister Nitish Kumar's policies.

Initiating a discussion in the Rajya Sabha in the post-lunch session on the Rail Budget, presented on February 24, senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Railways' claim of a ''turnaround'', particularly in matters of safety, were because of the policies of former Railway Minister Nitish Kumar, who had created a Rs 17,000 crore Safety Fund which is now being used for improving infrastructure, including signalling.

Earlier, as soon as the House assembled at 1400 hrs to discuss the Rail Budget, both treasury and opposition members traded charges over the U C Banerjee Panel Report on Godhra findings. The BJP objected to the report while the treasury benches were defending it.

The noise continued for 15 minutes despite repeated pleas by the Vice-Chairman to maintain calm. However, order could be restored only after Railway Minister Lalu Prasad said he would give a statement in both Houses tomorrow at 1500 hrs.

Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad accused the government of having ''sidelined'' the safety measures, freight and various other aspects in the budget.

He also took the government to task for anouncing various schemes and proposals without even mentioning how they would generate funds for these schemes.

''I don't see any whisper in the entire budget on from where the Railways are going to get the revenue for undertaking various projects they have announced,'' Mr Prasad said.

He wanted the Minister to diclose how many projects were on for the past three years, what was the cost of these projects, how much amount would they involve and how would the government generate these funds.

He also criticised the government on the U C Banerjee Commission report on the Godhra carnage, saying the report was politically-motivated and had ignored many points.

Mr R K Dhawan (Cong) described the budget as an ''amalgam'' of ''socialist policies and inspiring vision'' of the Railway Minister.

He described it as ''forward-looking.'' MORE UNI RB RL GC1608

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