Rly. Budget disappointing: YSRCP


Hyderabad, February 26: YSR Congress has slammed the Rail budget, terming it as anti-poor, disappointing and ignoring the State interests and criticised the lack of mechanism to track the promises made and to gauge the performance of the ministry.

“The relevance of budget has been reduced drastically with fares being increased ahead of the budget and the announcements not being vouched for, due to lack of appraisal on promises versus performance,” the party leaders DR Somayajulu and Janak Prasad told reporters here on Tuesday.

Tough the State has sent maximum number of MPs to parliament and the budget was presented by a Congress minister for the first time in recent past, Andhra Pradesh got a raw deal in terms of new lines and new projects, they said.

Not only in getting new lines and projects but the State lost out even in upgrading of existing facilities and a major factory was diverted to Haryana, from where the Railway Minister hails, while Kurnool, represented by junior minister Kotal Suryaprakash Reddy, was given small crumbs, they said.  

Earlier when UPA partners were Railway ministers, they took care of their region very well and now the Congress ruled State was not accorded the same measure of benefit, they said adding that the promise of new lines and projects are only for announcement sake as the ministry has neither the will nor the funds to undertake them in the ensuing year.

Way back in 1991, a coach factory was allotted to State and it was supposed to come up at Khazipet and there is no movement even today. With the lack of mechanism to reconcile between promises and performances the exercise of presenting railway budget is reduced to mere rhetoric, they said.

The projects announced in the budget should be time-bound to have more sanctity.   

When the fares were already increased in January to nett Rs 6,000 crores the relevance of budget is lost unlike in early days when fares would be increased only while presenting budget. The only point of interest is about the new lines and projects and the Centre has little or no funds to honour these commitments, they said.

“Railways should be running on service orientation and not on commercial proportions and there is no forum to verify whether the promise of new lines and projects are kept. The fares are hiked through backdoor and the budget is disappointing,” they said.

The promises cannot be kept since 33 per cent of the Central revenue will be going towards interest. The Centre should try to improve its performance as the revenue, trade and current account deficits will have a telling affect on railways with the hike in freight charges.

Coal scam has brought production to stagnation and we are now importing coal, despite being in the top ten coal producing countries of the world, they said.

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