Kolkata’s businessmen not happy with interim rail budget

February 13th, 2009 - 10:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Feb 13 (IANS) The interim railway budget presented by Railways Minister Lalu Prasad in the Lok Sabha Friday could not match the expectations of the business community here, which is reeling under the impact of global economic slowdown.
“Though there are many positive proposals, there was no reduction in trade rates, which could have helped industry and trade in times of economic recession,” Sanjay Budhia, president of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told IANS.

He also pointed out that there was nothing much in the budget for West Bengal except the initial proposal for a bullet train between Howrah and Haldia and the support for extension of the Calcutta Metro Rail.

“There was nothing exciting about this budget. It’s good that he (Lalu Prasad) has done something for the common man by slashing the fares, but he could have done something for the business community by reducing freight rates,” said Sandip Sen, president of Bengal National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

There has been a two percent reduction in passenger fares in the interim rail budget.

Anupam Shah, president of Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce, expressed his disappointment at the nonchalance towards industry, which is already reeling under pressure of global melt-down.

“Eastern sector, which is the new steel hub of the country, expected some relief in freight rates on iron ore and coal, the two essential ingredients for making steel, and also the two largest contributors towards railway freight basket,” he said in a statement.

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