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Railway Budget 2011 intended only for West Bengal, says BJP

Discussion in 'National Politics' started by Hembo, Feb 26, 2011.

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  1. Hembo


    Feb 1, 2011
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    26 Feb, 2011, 04.59AM IST,ET Bureau
    Railway Budget 2011 intended only for West Bengal, says BJP

    NEW DELHI: Expectedly, Mamata Banerjee's Railway Budget was all about framing her party's campaign theme for the coming West Bengal election. As coalition compulsions prompted the government leadership to put up with the minister's political messaging through the railway budget, the exercise drew angry reaction from MPs belonging to the Opposition and ruling side.

    Sample the sops for West Bengal: Thirty-four new services for Kolkata metro, 50 more suburban services, a coach factory in Singur, a Rail Industrial Park in Jelligham and a proposal to set up a track machine industry in Uluberia.

    The minister, known for her tantrums, lost cool when it was pointed out by her political peers that the budget is not meant for just one state. "I am proud of my state and will continue to work for it," the minister said, adding fuel to the Opposition charge against the minister.

    MPs from Bihar, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh charged the railway minister with ignoring their states and focusing on West Bengal.

    The Opposition offensive on Banerjee continued outside the House. Within minutes after her 90-minute budget presentation, the Bharatiya Janata Party , the main Opposition, said the exercise was de-void of any road map for Indian Railways. "BJP demands that a performance budget should be presented by the government to inform the nation as to what its performance level has been in relation to the promises made by it," the party said in a statement.

    The party's deputy Lok Sabha leader Gopinath Munde, who dubbed the Railway Budget as a 'fraud on the people' told reporters that it was intended only for West Bengal. About the projects for Singur and Nandigram, the two political hot-spots in West Bengal where the Trinamool Congress has been upsetting the Left Front's political prospects, BJP said the minister should spell out how land would be made available.

    "The turnaround story of the Indian Railways is over. Its annual plan is proposed to be financed through gross budgetary support of Rs 20,000 crore, diesel cess of Rs 1,041 crore, market borrowings of Rs 20,594 crore through IRFCs and tax free bonds of Rs 10,000 crore," the BJP statement said.

    Banerjee's arch rival, CPM , which leads the Left Front Government in Bengal, understandably refrained from attacking her for being West Bengal-centric. But the party alleged that she had "played tricks and cunningly juggled" figures to show improved financial position of the railways. Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury said the minister has played with figures to project an operating ratio of 91.1% for 2011-12 which he claimed has touched 115%.

    "Railways have paid Rs 1,700 crore less as dividend," and has therefore been able to show an improved operating ratio, he said. He also demanded to know from the Planning Commission about the status of the announced projects. CPI dubbed the rail budget as a "litany of broken promises" and listed out status of projects announced last year.
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