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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Railway Budget 2009

The Union Railway Minister Miss Mamata Bannerjee presented the Railway Budget for 2009-'10 yesterday. The contents were not entirely unexpected.

What irked me to no end was the reaction from Lalu Prasad. He feels that his state has been neglected. The fact is that for the last five years he has introduced so many trains and so many projects (most of which are not feasible) in Bihar that there perhaps is no space for more. In fact there have been introduced a few trains exclusive for Bihar like the Ranchi-Patna Jan Shatabdi and the Jamalpur-Gaya Passenger. He has been announcing so many projects for the last five years and done little to introduce them, yet he feels that the present budget is a copy of his ideas.

He has been tabling inflated revenues at the parliament for the last few years. This is a fit case to book him for cheating the people of India.

He hoodwinked people (successfully to an extent, and that is perhaps why he was hailed by one of the IIMs) by not increasing passenger fares while backstabbing them by declaring even sundry trains 'super fast', thus levying surcharges.

Overall, the current budget has been popular. And why should it not be? The Government is expected to work for the people. The low price tickets for the low income group is welcome. But it must be seen that this is not misused. Political persons must be debarred from authorising incomes.

But the concession on the Kolkata Metro for 'minority students' is a gimmick. I can point out a thousand minority students who are affluent enough to buy tickets at the full fare. Concessions should be based only on economic background and merit. When will our 'leaders' learn?

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