India

WPI Terms Interim Rail Budget ‘Directionless and Detrimental’

BeyondHeadlines News Desk

Union Railway Minister Mallikarjuna Kharge has presented interim rail budget to the Parliament, announcing 73 new trains including 17 premium air-conditioned ones at a time when Lok Sabha polls are near.

Criticizing the interim rail budget as “disappointing and damaging”, WPI General Secretary Dr. S.Q.R. Ilyas said the minister has favoured his home state.

With his “undue favouritism” to Karnataka, he negated “due share and justice to other states”, Dr. Ilyas alleged.

“In allotting new trains and projects, the minister has ignored backwardness and demands pending due for many years from various quarters.

“Though the minister has played clever tactic of non-hike of fare for the time being, the policy statement of further revision of fares linking with fuel charge is highly damaging and detrimental to the interests of millions of commuters.”

Dr. Ilyas also alleged that leaving fare revision right on the basis of market fuel rate to the tariff regulatory board will be detrimental to the common people.

“The minister’s policy to depend for PPP as a source for resource mobilization for expansion and development. PPP practice has been a failure in the past,” Dr Ilyas added.

The party expressed concern that this could be a covert step for gradual privatization of this PSU, the largest employer in India. WPI also noted that required fund could be generated by effective utilization of the existing resources.

Dr. Ilyas alleged that the intermittent changes of ministerial guards at the top have left the Indian Railways inefficient and directionless. The budget doesn’t give details regarding connection and link with earlier announcements made by his predecessors and follow ups made to earlier decisions.

Commenting on the interim railway budget, Trinamool Congress General Secretary Mukul Roy termed it as a poll stunt and said the Congress had no “moral, legal or ethical right” to present a budget as its tenure would soon come to an end.

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