Friday, February 25, 2011

Railway budget overlooks AP’s Demands: Lok Satta

The Lok Satta Party said that the Union Railway budget overlooked many of the demands of Andhra Pradesh.

In a media statement, party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma and Secretary Bandaru Ramamohan Rao pointed out that the budget, lacking in vision, sought to maintain the status quo.

It would take more than 100 years to realize the goal of building 25000 km of new railway lines by2020 if allocations for new lines continued as at present. The budget is silent on building of six high-speed corridors, development of ten stations to international standards and taking of new lines like Nadikudi-Srikalahasti and Bhadrachalam-Kovvur jointly with the State Government – all announced in the last budget.

The Lok Satta leaders recalled that cargo movement by railways has plummeted to 20 percent now from the 80 percent during the early years of Independence and contributed to high costs of cargo movement by road. A solution to the problem lies in building new railway lines in association with the private sector. Instead of discharging its primary responsibility of expanding the railway network , the railways is seeking to shoulder unwarranted tasks of generating power, building coaches and constructing houses.

The Lok Satta leaders said decentralization of railways, greater role for States, and promotion of public private partnerships would facilitate development of railways on the lines of ports and airports.

They welcomed allocation of funds for the second phase of MMTS in Hyderabad, reduction in reservation charges, scholarships to children of weaker section railway employees and taking up of projects in north eastern States.

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