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NCP, Cong CM join oppn to slam Rail Budget

The UPA government’s Rail Budget came in for sharp criticism from its ally in Maharashtra, the NCP, which expressed grave disappointment and alleged that Mumbai had been neglected by railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.

Mumbai has been neglected, which is ‘not acceptable’, NCP chief Sharad Pawar told a meeting of the UPA coordination committee hours after the Railway Budget was presented in the Lok Sabha.

Pawar said the government has ‘totally neglected’ the problems faced by 80 lakh commuters in Mumbai, the sources said.

The NCP told the meeting convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and attended by Congress president Sonia Gandhi among others that the ‘neglect is not acceptable’.

And it was not just NCP, Pawan Kumar Bansal’s Budget came in for criticism from the Congress-led UDF government in Kerala as well.

Chief minister Oommen Chandy said it was a reality that Kerala did not get the expected projects while one of his ministerial colleagues termed the budget as ‘totally disappointing’ for the state and that it has suffered ‘utter neglect’.

Chandy said due to financial crunch, the number of new announcements in the Rail Budget presented on Tuesday was low and the share of Kerala too was not up to the mark.

Kerala will press for implementation of the schemes and projects announced in the earlier budgets, he told reporters.

Earlier, the state transport and power minister Aryadan Mohammed, who is also in-charge of the railways in the state, said Kerala did not expect any major railway project, but this kind of ‘utter neglect’ towards the state was least expected.

The state got only two additional weekly trains to Lokmanya Tilak Terminus and Visakhapatnam and three passenger trains in Rail Budget and only a meagre amount of Rs 53 crore for the rail coach factory in Palakkad, which was announced four years ago.

Mohammed said he along with Chandy will meet railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal to convey the state's grievances.

‘Even if we do not get any additional allocation in this Budget, we will ask the railway minister to implement the projects announced in previous budgets,’ he added.

Meanwhile, the opposition ruled states were far more vocal in their criticism of the Rail Budget.

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi called the Railway Budget as ‘anti- development’ and said that it reflects the ‘non-performance of the UPA government’.
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