Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday denied that the budget proposals for 2010-11 was West Bengal-centric and said that questions to that effect amounted to humiliating the State and “me.”
Addressing journalists after presenting the Railway budget, Ms. Banerjee charged that their repeated questions that she was doling out everything only to her native State in view of the coming elections were “politically motivated.”
“Leave that to the MPs. They are doing politics. But how can I satisfy 800 people (MPs)? I have not curtailed the rights of any State. Most of these are for other States.”
Ms. Banerjee claimed that nobody had done the kind of work she had executed and went on to claim, “it is a historic rail budget.”
She said she had not touched the fares and had also announced a token reduction in freight charges for food grains and fertilizers. These were aimed at coping with price rise.
She also denied that there was any move to privatise the Railways and said the objective was to earn more money through commercial utilisation of surplus land and development of infrastructure. She ruled out selling of railway land to private parties.
In a bid to shore up support for the proposed modernisation and infrastructure projects, she said a business model would be put in place.
She said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had been kind to her and had been guiding the sector’s progress. Ms. Banerjee said the Railways would also take the Planning Commission into confidence.