Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) has alleged a raw deal to the State in the Railway Budget for 2006-07 presented in Parliament on Friday.

Briefing presspersons after the front's State committee meeting here on Saturday, its convener, Paloli Mohammed Kutty, said the Railway Ministry had done gross injustice to the State by cutting back on its allocation from around Rs.240 crores last year to Rs. 130 crores. This, he said, had happened despite MPs from Kerala taking up the State's demands for railway development strongly with the Centre.

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan; Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) general secretary K. Pankajakshan; CPI State secretary Veliyam Bhargavan; and RSP State secretary T.J. Chandrachoodan also came out strongly against the Railway Budget which, they said, fell far short of the expectations of the State. Several other organisations had also come out against what they termed injustice meted out to Kerala by the Railway Ministry.

Terming the Railway Budget a disappointment for Kerala, Mr. Achuthanandan said it was regrettable that the budget was silent on the State's demand for a railway zone and the failure of the Railway Ministry to allocate adequate funds for railway development projects in Kerala.

He also took exception to what he termed attempts to privatise Railways.

In his statement, Mr. Pankajakshan accused the Railways of having adopted a discriminatory attitude towards Kerala in development of railway infrastructure.