Striking a different note from her predecessor on the demands for new trains, Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday told Rajya Sabha that her priority would be to deliver on the budgetary promises. She will place before Parliament on Friday a white paper on the financial condition of the railways and a ‘Vision Document’ outlining the long-term vision and short-term plans.
Rejecting demands from members for new trains and railway lines during a debate on supplementary demand for grants, 2009-10, the Minister said her priority would be to complete ongoing projects for which Rs. one lakh crore would be required.
When Ms. Banerjee sought cooperation of members for sanction of such a large fund, some CPI-M and Bahujan Samaj Party members interrupted her saying the solution was with the Cabinet. “Don’t shout. I am not that type of a typical Minister. I am transparent and I am accountable,” she responded.
She said it was not possible to take up new projects as no new coaches, wagons and rakes were available. Even if orders were placed now, it would take time for delivery. “I am not accusing anybody. But this is the truth.” Ms. Banerjee’s predecessor Lalu Prasad was famous for accepting every demand for a new train made in the house.