BJP ally Sena joins Oppn attack in RS on railways
The government was on Wednesday attacked in the Rajya Sabha by ally Shiv Sena along with the Opposition over merger of the Railway Budget with the General Budget.
Participating in a debate on the Demand for Grants for the Railways, Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena) rued that only 10 minutes were devoted on Railways in the Budget for the next fiscal.
However, he said, this will not hide the poor financial health of the department.
"The country does not know what Railway ministry has done and what it plans to do," Raut said, and asked whether "we will have to wait for CAG report".
He mentioned that CAG has reported several discrepancies in its report.
Raut stressed on the need for transparency in the Railway ministry, else it will hit the country's biggest transporter.
The Shiv Sena leader said jobs in Railways have been cut by about 2 lakh, while the Prime Minister has said that 1 lakh new jobs have been generated. "What is the truth," he asked. Narendra Budhania of Congress said the government is making history by merging Rail Budget into General Budget.
He said there was a sharp fall in freight loadings and passenger booking as people are opting for other modes of transportaion than rail.
"The revenue growth is also negative," he said.
BJP MP Ram Vichar Netam said the Railways is on the right track with many projects like high speed train, rail expansion, cashless ticket booking, bio-toilets, the ministry is working 24 hours.
Trinamool Congress member D Bandopadhaya was critical of the merger of Rail Budget with General Budget.
He said the government had tried to hide facts rather than revealing the merged budget.
Bandopadhaya was also against the proposal for having joint venture with state governments to execute rail projects in the respective states.
"This will only benefit cash rich affluent states and cash-strapped states will not be benefitted from this," he said.
He also wanted to know the time frame for equipping all coaches with bio toilets.
CPI(M) MP T K Rangarajan said the merger would benefit railways only by not paying about Rs 5000 crore in dividends to the government.
He also highlighted the fact there is a need for track renewal of about 12,000 km long line as the number of accidents is increasing.