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Rail budget termed disappointment

Staff Reporter
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Response of rail users’ forums largely positive

huge protest:DYFI activists blocking a train at the Kozhikode railway station on Tuesday in protest against the neglect of Kerala and Kozhikode in the Union Railway Budget. —Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup
huge protest:DYFI activists blocking a train at the Kozhikode railway station on Tuesday in protest against the neglect of Kerala and Kozhikode in the Union Railway Budget. —Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup

The reactions of the various political outfits, traders’ bodies and rail-users’ group in the district to the Railway Budget, which was tabled on Tuesday, have been overwhelmingly negative. Most of them were of the opinion that the budget had been a disappointment as far as the State and the Malabar region was concerned.

Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) national secretary E.T. Mohammed Basheer, MP, said the State did not get even the projects it deserved in the Railway Budget.

“Out of a total of 67 express trains announced in the budget, the State got only two weekly trains. The proposals submitted by the State government for railway development in Kerala were not considered. Also, not enough funds have been allocated for the projects announced in the previous budget,” Mr. Basheer said.

However, he praised the Railways Minister for not increasing the passenger fares and thus avoiding the additional burden on the common man. He also welcomed the decision to fill the 47,000 vacancies in Railways allotted to persons with disabilities.

The Malabar Chamber of Commerce also reacted negatively to the budget. In a release, the chamber said the budget was a disappointment to the Malabar region even though it was expected otherwise before its tabling. It said that the fare increase in the air-conditioned compartments of the express trains would affect frequent travellers. Also, the decision to increase the freight charges in proportion with the rise in diesel prices would result in an increase in the prices of essential commodities. This would, in turn, adversely affect the Indian economy that was already reeling under inflation, said the chamber.

It welcomed the awarding of funds to set up a coach factory in Palakkad and the announcement of survey proceedings for a third track along the Shoranur-Mangalore route. The new Kozhikode-Shoranur passenger train would reduce the rush on the route.

The response of the Malabar Rail Users’ Association was generally positive. It, however, expressed disappointment at the rise in charges for reservation, cancellation, and tatkal bookings. The reaction of the Confederation of All India Rail Users’ Association was also on similar lines.

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