The Railway Budget ignored Kerala as never before, BJP leader and former Union Minister of State for Railways O. Rajagopal has said.
“This is a humiliation for Kerala,” he said. Kerala’s development needs had been ignored despite the presence of eight ministers from Kerala in the Union government.
The BJP leader said that though it was being claimed that passenger tariffs had not been increased, Rs.800 crore had been netted two months ago through tariff revision. Moreover, a regulatory commission with powers for periodic revision of tariffs was proposed to be set up. Ticket rates would go up with increase in diesel prices and other costs.
Mr. Rajagopal further noted that the increase in freight rates would hit the people harder than the passenger tariffs. Though impact would not be directly felt, it would cause all-round increase in prices.
He noted that the coach factory in Palakkad, proposed 50 years ago, was yet to materialise. Meanwhile, three other coach factories had been completed in places such Kapurthala and Rae Bareli. Political interests weighed over interests of passengers in such matters. Now, the Minister had proposed a new coach factory at Sonepet while there was only mention of plans to hold discussions with Kerala on the Palakkad coach factory.
Kerala had got no new lines. There was also no proposal for gauge conversion. Though there was a proposal for line between Palakkad and Muthalamada, this was proposed to be completed last year. However, not even preliminary works had been taken up last year. Earlier Budget proposals for the upgrade of Thiruvananthapuram railway station to international standards and opening of railway medical college were also remaining on paper, he said.