Railway budget a disappointment for Kerala: Achuthanandan

February 13th, 2009 - 8:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 13 (IANS) Kerala chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan Friday said he is disappointed with the interim rail budget for 2009-10 presented by Railways Minister Lalu Prasad in parliament.
“Despite the reduction in oil prices, it is unfortunate that he (Lalu Prasad) has not touched the freight charges. We had asked for five new trains and not a single one is there. Likewise, there is nothing for us when it came to new railway lines. On the whole, it is a disappointment for Kerala,” he said.

However, he said that reduction in fares is “good”.

Kerala will have two new trains passing through the state and the frequency of two trains has been made bi-weekly. Also, Kerala has been included in a proposed study to run bullet trains in the country.

President of Railway Passengers Association K.A. Nambiar said none of the demands put forward by Kerala had been met.

“Both Bihar and Tamil Nadu have got more than their share simply because ministers come from these two states. We had put up 20 demands to be considered and what I have come to know is that these demands reached Delhi after the budget papers went to the press for printing.”

He also said that there is no mention about the proposed coach factory allocated to the state two years ago.

An angry state minister in charge of Railways M. Vijayakumar said he expected a budget for the country and not only for Bihar and Tamil Nadu.

“This should be reconsidered and the prime minister should intervene for justice to be delivered to Kerala. There are three cabinet ministers from Kerala and they, along with the Congress-led opposition here, should all work collectively to see that due justice is given to us.”

Presenting the interim budget Friday, Lalu Prasad announced a cut of two percent in fares, introduced 43 new routes and hiked the planned expenditure for expansion in spite of the economic downturn that saw lower freight revenues last quarter.

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