Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pedestrian and disappointing: Dr. JP on railway budget

"Status quoist, pedestrian and disappointing." That was how Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan reacted to the railway budget presented to the Lok Sabha today.

In a media statement, Dr. JP said that the Union Government has neither the will nor imagination to make transport network the engine of growth. He recalled that China has just completed a 2600-km-long high-speed railway track which can be covered in just eight hours whereas we continue to live with antiquated infrastructure.

Dr. JP said that new projects are being announced even as projects worth Rs.2 lakh crore have been pending. The railways do not have funds to modernize signals, leave alone create high speed rail networks.

Dr. JP pointed out that the freight handled by the railways has slumped to less than 20 percent now from 80 percent at the time of Independence. The diversion of traffic to road networks has forced the country to squander precious foreign exchange on import of petroleum products for facilitating road traffic.

Dr. JP regretted that the Indian economy is crippled as transport and power ,the two lynchpins of growth, are in a shambles.

Lok Satta Party State General Secretary Katari Srinivasa Rao said that execution of the second phase of the MMTS in Hyderabad does not find a place in the budget. Similarly, there is no reference to development of Tirupati and Secunderabad as world-class railway stations, a promise made in the previous year's budget. The long-pending and popular request for inclusion of Visakhapatnam division in the South Central Railway has not been addressed. He said the Union Railway Minister has not focused on projects nearing completion.

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