Seven years of economic mismanagement has led to monetising national assets: Kharge

Congress leader M. Mallikarjun Kharge at a press conference in Mangaluru on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Raghava M.

Economic mismanagement by the Narendra Modi-led BJP government for seven years has led the Union government to monetise assets built over 70 years by Congress-led governments, said Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha M. Maillikarjun Kharge here on Saturday.

Talking to reporters, Mr. Kharge said it was sad to see the Union government going ahead with monetising several assets, including 26,700-km long national highways, 42,300 circuit km of power transmission network, 400 railway stations, 2.86 lakh km of Bharathnet fibre network, 25 airports, and 16 coal mining projects.

“Monetising these assets by handing it over to private companies will lead to cost escalation as they will be more interested in earning profits,” Mr. Kharge said, and claimed that the firms, who will take over these assets, will drastically reduce employees in these sectors.

Citing the monetisation of 26,700 km of national highways, Mr. Kharge said the private entities taking over these highways would be asked to pay ₹1.6 lakh crore to the Union government every year.

“When these entities have to pay this amount, they will, obviously, look to profit from maintaining the road stretch and this would mean a three- to four-fold increase in toll charges,” he said. The private players will not allow use of railway network during emergency situation like the recent use of rail network for transmission of oxygen during the second wave of COVID-19, he claimed.

When Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s statement that ownership of these assets will remain with the Union government following monetisation was pointed out, Mr. Khage said, “Neither she will be remain as Minister nor I will be in the Parliament to see the consequences of monetisation of assets, which are going to be quite serious,” he said.

Mr. Kharge added that the two top leaders of the ruling government are interested in selling national assets to a select few business entities.

Standing firm on not participating in the inquiry into ruckus in Rajya Sabha on August 11, Mr. Kharge said, “Let the Union government first allow us to discuss on the two farmers’ Bills and Pegasus on the Floor of the House.”

Exuding confidence in getting the support of four Janata Dal (Secular) councillors and one Independent councillor, Mr. Kharge said the Congress will rule the Kalaburagi City Corporation council.

“I have met JD(S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda in this regard and I am confident of the rule by secular parties,” he added.

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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 12:44:02 AM |

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