Terming the Railway budget “total gimmickry,” the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Wednesday said it fell short on various fronts.

“Far from containing any vision for the future of the Indian Railways, the budget speech has sought to conceal gross failures through misleading announcements and gimmicks aimed at the forthcoming Assembly elections in West Bengal,” the Polit Bureau said in a statement.

While the current financial year saw over 120 accidents, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee inexplicably slashed the Railway Safety Fund by Rs. 579 crore from last year.

“Moreover, the Minister has strangely tried to shift the blame for railway accidents on rail rokos and natural disasters! This shows the Minister’s distorted perspective on the crucial aspect of railway safety.”

Also, the Minister remained silent on filling over 1.7 lakh posts, which according to railway estimates, were lying vacant in 2009; out of these, nearly 90,000 were posts related to railway safety.

The Railways’ operating ratio (the ratio of total working expenses to earnings — a higher ratio implies deterioration), which was 90.5 per cent in 2008-09, rose to 94.7

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