The Chief Minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, expressed displeasure over the way the State was being "left out" in railway projects and announced willingness to share upto 50 per cent cost in the case of projects which the Railway Ministry feels are not economically feasible.
The Chief Minister made no secret of his unhappiness over the Railway Ministry’s attitude towards the projects posed by the State when he said the "our biggest grouse is the way the railways neglected South India in general and Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in particular". Dr. Reddy went on to reveal his predicament every time railway budget was finalised since past four years claiming "I keep off from making any comments on the budget as they may not be palatable to the Central Government".
He was speaking at an interactive session between Union Minister of State for Railways K.H. Muniyappa and the MPs from the State here on Friday. Dr. Reddy was apparently irked by the Union Minister’s remark when the latter asked the State Government to prioritise the list of projects area wise based on their urgency.
"The MPs forward their proposal not just on the basis of economic reasons, but also considering social angle which is very important. If the Ministry has concern on the feasibility of the projects due to economic reasons, we are ready to contribute 10, 25 or upto 50 per cent for the projects depending on the need," he said.
He exhorted Mr. Muniyappa to communicate the feelings of the people to Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee so that the injustice done all these years was remedied. Dr. Reddy, at the same time, asked the MPs who were raising numerous grievances to observe restraint claiming that "we need to get our work done, but should also ensure that the Central Government is not embarrassed".
Mr. Muniyappa admitted that the expectations of the State were not fulfilled and assured that there would be no discrimination towards Andhra Pradesh in sanction of projects and commencement of works. He welcomed the cost sharing model and said it would go a long way in taking up several works.
Earlier, the Chief Minister’s advisor on railway issues T. Stanley Babu made a detailed presentation on how the projects relating to the State were being given "meagre funds" years after their formal approval by the Parliament. Several MPs as well as Union Ministers M.M. Pallam Raju and Panabaka Lakshmi submitted representations to the Union Minister relating to projects in their constituencies.