CPI(M) MP moves privilege motion against Mamata Banerjee

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 18:47

New Delhi: Charging the Railway Minister
with "manipulating" figures to "purposefully" mislead
Parliament in her latest budget speech, a CPI(M) member has
moved a privilege motion against Mamata Banerjee.

Maintaining that the privilege of the House had been
violated, Rajya Sabha member P Rajeeve alleged "manipulation
and false statement on the achievement targets of the Railways
during the presentation of the Railway Budget 2011 by the
Minister".

He said while Banerjee had said in her budget speech
that 700 kms of new lines had been laid, the Finance
Ministry`s Mid-Year Analysis 2010-11 said it was only 59 kms.

Similarly, the Minister claimed 700 kms of doubling,
1,000 kms of electrification and 800 kms of electrification
had taken place during the year, the Finance Ministry document
maintained that these were 55 kms, 203 kms and 140 kms
respectively till September 2010, Rajeeve told reporters.

"It is rather interesting that these herculean figures
of 641 km of new lines, 645 kms of doubling, 797 kms of
electrification and 660 kms of guage conversion has been
achieved between September and March, in a country where the
annual average for laying new lines is only 180 kms", he said.

The CPI(M) MP also said the budget and the revised
figures for total passenger earnings for 2010 was pegged at Rs
26126.47 crore.

"It is virtually impossible to predict accurately the
volume of passengers who would travel or the amount they would
spend on it. How is it physically possible to predict exactly
till the last digit the exact revenues that can be earned."

Same was the case for figures relating to freight
loading revenues, Rajeeve said, alleging this was "a clear
case of manipulation".

He said the Minister had said in her budget speech
that Railways already had a network of 37,000 kms of optic
fibre cable and work on another 12,000 kms was in progress.
"But in Page 31 of the Yearbook of the Railway

Ministry, which was circulated with the budget documents this
year, it is stated that as on March 31, 2010, only 35,268 kms
of optic fibre cable has been commissioned", Rajeeve said.

Noting that Banerjee had reiterated these figures in
her speech, the CPI(M) MP said it "throws light on the fact
that the Minister has committed violation of privilege of this
House, which mandates immediate action" and sought the Rajya
Sabha Chairman`s permission to raise the issue of privilege.

At a press conference here, CPI(M) Politburo member
Sitaram Yechury said the Railway Minister has "misled the
House and the nation" by giving out wrong information.

To a question on changes in the Left Front`s
candidates` list and induction of large number of new faces,
he said, "We have always made changes. During the last
assembly polls, we had changed 131 candidates. There are a
very few parties which take such courageous decisions."

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 18:47

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