Purandeswari, TSR and Ganta hail the introduction of new trains
The introduction of four new trains and increase in the frequency of two trains have elicited positive response from the ruling party leaders, while the opposition criticised the Railway Budget for ignoring the needs of the region.
Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development D. Purandeswari thanked Union Railway Minister P.K. Bansal and his deputy Kotla Surya Prakash Reddy for announcing the introduction of express trains to Gandhigram, Jodhpur, and Kollam from the city and Tirupati-Bhubaneshwar train, increase in the frequency of Hazoor Saheb Nanded Express and Lokmanya Tilak express and sanction of executive lounge at Visakhapatnam Railway Station.
Stating that he endeavoured for the introduction of trains and describing the budget as a good one, Rajya Sabha member T. Subbarami Reddy exuded confidence that by March trains running via Duvvada would be routed back to Visakhapatnam. The ‘Garib Rath’ train to Secunderabad would soon have a halt at Duvvada.
City BJP president P.V. Narayana Rao pointed out that several lakhs of people from the other States were living in Visakhapatnam and the introduction of new trains was hardly adequate to meet their needs to go their respective states. Also the development of executive lounge would help the Railways promote tourism and earn revenue from it but in which way Visakhapatnam would benefit, he asked. Mr. Rao also deplored the indirect increase of fares for the second time in nearly two months after the steep hike in January.
City BJP vice-president M. Ramakrishnamraju said the long-pending demand to run the Shirdi express remained unfulfilled. The same was the fate for a regular train to Allahabad. Air Travellers Association (India) president D. Varada Reddy while welcoming the new trains and increase in frequency said the frequency of Duranto and Samata Express trains should also have been increased.
Marwari Yuva Manch president Naresh Agarwal thanked the Railway Minister for introducing a direct train to Jodhpur meeting a long-pending demand.
Minister for Investment, Infrastructure and Ports Ganta Srinivasa Rao hailed the budget for giving importance to Visakhapatnam. He hoped that a decision would soon be taken on a separate railway zone with Visakhapatnam as its headquarters, according to a statement issued here.
CPI(M) flays budget
The CPI(M) criticised the budget for not even making a mention of forming a separate Visakhapatnam zone, or increasing the quota of berths and not increasing passenger trains.
Party district secretary Ch. Narsinga Rao said the hollowness of Ms. Purandeswari’s assertions of getting a separate zone or wagon workshop was exposed. The budget did not make any proposal for another train for Araku, let alone new tracks to the Agency.
He said all the new projects proposed by the Railway Minister were in PPP mode indicating that privatisation of the Railways would be on a fast track.
CPI district secretary J.V. Satyanaryana Murthy said once again north Andhra was given a raw deal. He led a protest under the auspices of the party city unit that burnt the effigy of the Railway Minister at the railway station.
It was a sign of the inefficiency of the people’s representatives that several representations and meetings with top officials of the Railway Board for creation of a separate railway zone went in vain.
He criticised increasing of Tatkal and supplementary fares as indirect increase in fares.
Also introducing express trains was no relief for the poor who would travel by passenger trains. He reiterated the demand for railway wheel factory and wagon workshop in the city.
Keywords: Railway Budget