The Congress today described the Modi government’s first Railway Budget as ”directionless”, ”ill prepared” and ”full of inconsistencies”.
Initiating the discussion on the Railway Budget, Congress member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the government had given no concrete road map for development of railways and it was rather unfortunate that it wanted to go on a ”plan holiday” much against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s main election plank of fast-tracking development. He said the Budget was ill prepared and without any distinct direction. Mr Chowdhury also wondered as to how the government, which swears by China model in the development of railways, could do without capacity augmentation, but by going on a plan holiday, no augmentation could be done. The Congress member disputed Railway Minister D V Deve Gowda’s claim that no projects were started during the ten years of UPA rule, pointing out that 368 projects were initiated by the previous government but the new government now wanted to discard them. These projects were started to give connectivity to backward region, but by describing these projects as useless the government was showing that connectivity to these regions was not important for it.
Mr Chowdhury also criticised the Congress for not giving any specific figures regarding the sources to be mobilised from FDI, private sector and PPP mode. He also ridiculed the proposal for introducing bullet train, saying the fact that only Rs 100 crore had been given for the project shows the government’s immature thinking. Rakesh Singh of the ruling BJP said the 171-year-old railways badly needed expansion but the new government should be given sometime for that. ”What you could not do in the past 60 years, you now want us to do in 60 months, which was not fair,” he said.
He attacked the previous Congress government for not acting on various committees appointed for suggesting revamping of Railways.
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