New Delhi, Oct 23 (UNI) The Rajya Sabha today took up for discussion and returning of the Railways Appropriation Bill 2008 providing for moneys required to meet the supplementary expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India and the grants made by Lok Sabha for the expenditure of the Central Government on Railways for 2008-09.
Initiating the debate on the Appropriation (Railways) No 4 Bill, 2008, piloted by Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, Sree Gopal Vyas of BJP said the Bill is seeking allocation for national projects and out of turn projects.
He said, ''national projects mention some new routes and schemes, but it is for the first time we are hearing out of turn projects. I am not levelling any charges but there are apprehensions and may lead to many inferences''.
Mr Vyas wanted to know why these expenses were not contemplated earlier and included in the main budget. The Minister should clarify these out of turn projects so there should be no confusion.
Mr Satyavrat Chaturvedi of Congress complained about poor maintenance of water, sanitation, toilets and other things and asked as to how much do ''we spent on for these developments''.
He said for introducing new railway links the authorities should consult with the state concerned for acquiring land for the same and environmental clearances should also be taken for smooth development.
Mr Silvius Condupon of Congress said Northeaster Railways has not been given proper attention compared to other zones. For the economic development of this area it is important to expand the railways services. There should be a proper railways network for transportation of essential commodities.
He said there is no mention of constructing railway stations in the remote areas.
Mr Tarini Kanta Roy of CPI-M criticised the Railway Ministry for taking PPP mode for developmental works. Sometimes, the contracts are given to the right person and they are hiring contractors for the job and in such cases the quality of the works will be poor.
Railways has ample resources and can undertake projects at its own instead giving contracts.
He said hilly areas should be given priority for doubling of tracks and maintaining the stations.
Mr Kumar Deepak Das of AGP also demanded the proper attention for the Northeastern zone and adequate communication system.
He said the Minister had assured to make Guwahati as the world class station and he hoped that he will keep his words.
Mr Dass demanded construction of overbridges on National Highway 31.
Ms. Sushila Tiriya of INC said that Orissa is a very poor and backward State, Railway Minister should give more attention.
Mr Vijay Kumar Rupani of BJP from Gujarat said there are 144 projects for development by the Railways and there is no mention of a single project in Gujarat. Ten more ports are being developed in the state and railway should provide transport facility for the same.
He was also critical of the bad attitude of the Railway Protection Force.
Mr M V Mysura Reddy of TDP said these are all pre-election gimmicks and South Central Zone allocation is a laughing stock.
Mr Rajniti Prasad of RJD and Mr Syed Azeez Pasha of CPI also participated in the discussion.
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