New Delhi: The CPI(M) on Wednesday launched a
sharp attack on its prime political opponent in West Bengal,
alleging Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee was going ahead
with "wholesale privatisation" of the railways and privatising
"cream" projects which would substantially reduce earnings and
"halt" their progress.
Most projects announced for West Bengal would not see
the light of the day as had happened with several projects
announced last year, CPI(M) leader Basudeb Acharia alleged.
Observing that Banerjee had twice in her budget speech
said that the PSU would not be privatised, he, however, told
reporters here, "there is enough indication in the budget that
she is going ahead with wholesale privatisation."
Commenting on proposals related to the dedicated
freight corridors, he alleged the western corridor, which was
"the cream" in terms of earnings, would be given to private
hands and developed through private-public partnership (PPP).
"By dishing out major share of profitable routes to
private parties, Railways will not have enough earnings or
funds to invest for its expansion and bring its future growth
to a halt," he said.
Acharia, a long-time Chairman of the Standing
Committee on Railways who left the post after Banerjee took
over as the minister, said "if construction of rail lines is
given to private hands, only those projects having positive
rate of return will be taken up."