Trade bodies have expressed concern over the neglect of Kerala in the rail budget, even as they hailed proposals allowing foreign direct investment for Railway’s growth.

Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman E.P. George said the rail budget was a disappointing one for Kerala. The budget had not taken into consideration any of the demands and essential requirements of the State.

The survey for the Kanhangad- Panathur rail line and the Mangalore-Kasaragod passenger would benefit only one district.

There was no priority to doubling the Kollam-Ernakulam rail line and no relief for passengers.

The proposal for foreign direct investment for Railway’s growth and development was laudable, he said.

The Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged the Centre to review the recent hike in passenger fare and freight rates. It welcomed the government’s decision to allow 100 per cent FDI in the Indian Railways.

The decision to finance future projects through the PPP mode was a pragmatic one, a statement issued by C.P. Mammen, president, said.

Kerala Samsthana Vyapari Vyavasayi Samithi expressed concern at the neglect of Kerala in the budget. In a statement, president Binny Immatty and secretary E.S.Biju said the State had never been neglected to such an extent in rail budgets since Independence.

The Kerala Merchants Union said in a statement that Kerala had been neglected in the budget.

The move to allow investment in certain segments would benefit MNCs while the common man was grappling with increased fares, the statement said.