Terming the Railway Budget (Vote on Account) presented by Railways Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday as a “mere poll gimmick”, the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has accused him of failing to properly utilise the “rare opportunity” to make any substantial contribution to the State.
“He lost an opportunity to make a memorable contribution to the State,” Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Jagadish Shettar said.
Mr. Shettar said that the high expectations of the people that Mr. Kharge would provide justice to his home State had been belied.
It was old wine in a new bottle as Mr. Kharge tried to present already announced schemes as new ones, Mr. Shettar said.
He accused the Railways Minister of failing to implement his assurance to the State that he would set up Bangalore Railway Vikas Corporation and take steps for the speedy completion of projects languishing for more than a decade.
Mr. Kharge has disappointed people from his own district of Gulbarga and the surrounding areas, he said.
Ridiculing the budget proposals, BJP national general secretary and MP Ananth Kumar said that there was a question mark over the implementation of the railway proposals as the model code of conduct is likely to come into force in about 15 days.
He said that the suburban rail service for Bangalore for which the State government has committed to providing 5 per cent of the project cost, and line doubling, electrification and automatic signalling in the Bangalore-Mysore and Bangalore-Tumkur rail corridors had been ignored.
Mr. Ananth Kumar said that all rail budgets of the United Progressive Alliance government had given the least allocation to the State and the South Western Railway Zone.
He expressed concern that despite being the eighth largest State in terms of geographical area, Karnataka had the fourth lowest rail network density, excluding the North-East region and Jammu & Kashmir.