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New Delhi, Mar 10 (UNI) The Opposition, including the BJP and Janata Dal(United), as also the CPI today dubbed the railway budget a web of illusions, alleging Railway Minister Lalu Prasad has indulged in statisical jugglery aimed at misleading the people of the country.

Resuming the discussion on the rail budget after a four-day break, Ms Sumitra Mahajan(BJP) charged the Railway Minister with having created an ''indrajaal''(web of illusions), while Rajiv Ranjan (JD-U) alleged it was full of statistical jugglery.

Mr Prabodh Panda (CPI) said Mr Lalu's claim of causing a turnaround in railways' fortunes like a magician was misleading and the fancy announcements made in the budget were all ''full of tricks''.

While talking of 'Chak de rail', no measures were being taken to curb the accident rate and ensure safety of passengers, Ms Mahajan said.

Charging the Minister with indulging in populist talk, she said, ''Pul pe pul gir rahe hain (bridges are giving way), but the Minister is talking of Vision 2025.'' Alleging that after having misled Bihar for 15 years, Mr Rajiv Ranjan charged Mr Lalu Prasad with misleading the nation by creating a statistical illusion of good performance. He asked if the railways indeed had generated a cash surplus of Rs 25,000 crore in the current fiscal, why they had sought budgetary support to fund its projects.

The JD(U) member said the fare reduction announced by the Minister were to be applicable in new coaches, which he claimed, would become operational only in the year 2016 as stated by Chairman of the Railway Board. He said the Railway Ministry had even included the money collected for tickets booked for journey beyond April one in the current fiscal to paint a rosy picture of its performance.

He also lambasted the Railways for going slow on the much-hyped Mumbai-Ludhiana freight corridor, saying foundation at Ludhiana for the project was laid by Prime Minister in September 2006 but nothing had happened since.

Mr Panda said railway's entity as a public sector utility was getting diluted day by day with catering, maintenance and station management having been outsourced to private parties.

He also criticised the provision of changing the category of trains from express to superfast, without giving any extra facilities. He pointed out the railways had tried to raise revenues upto Rs 550 crore by enhancing the cancellation charges.

Describing the raising of Tatkal quota of berths from ten per cent to 30 per cent as very unfair, he said this was another of the budget's tricks.

Ms Mahajan regretted that Madhya Pradesh lagged in rail connectivity which was just 15 per cent as compared to 17 per cent in several states.


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