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Rail budget lacks fund-generation ideas: Left

Kolkata(IANS): Terming the rail budget presented by Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi as populist, West Bengal’s opposition Left Front Wednesday said that he failed suggest ways to generate funds for the cash strapped organisation and address commuter safety concerns.

“They have failed to generate resources. What about the projects that were announced in last year’s rail budget? Many projects have been announced without any concrete financial backing,” said Nilotapal Basu, central committee member, Communist Party of India-Marxist.

“It is a populist budget. But what about the issue of revenue generation and railway safety measures? Nothing concrete has come out in these areas,” said Kshiti Goswami, state secretary, Revolutionary Socialist Party.

Trivedi, who belongs to the Trinamool Congress which heads the West Bengal’s ruling alliance, announced 75 new express trains, 21 new passenger trains and 75 new services in the Mumbai suburban system.

He said that the standard of hygiene needed to be improved substantially and all out efforts would be made on this in the next six months. He also proposed a special housekeeping body for stations and trains.

“This budget has talked about the need for modernisation but it has not earmarked the resources. It is banking on the central government for its projects. So if the general budget doesn’t allot enough money to the railways, then what is the future of these projects?” asked Swapan Banerjee of the Communist Party of India.

Trinamool’s alliance partner Congress hailed the rail budget.

“It is a pro-people budget,” said Pradip Bhattacharya, president, West Bengal pradesh Congress committee.

The railways will increase passenger fares by upto 30 paise per km in 2012-13, said Trivedi, announcing the first fare hike in almost a decade.

“The fare hike has been marginal keeping in mind the interests of the common man,” said Om Prakash Mishra, a Congress leader.

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