LS clears Rail Budget; Mamata asserts performance not bad
New Delhi: Lok Sabha on Monday approved the Rail
Budget for 2011-12 after Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee
assured the House of effecting measures to ensure availability
of adequate coaches and wagons in the coming years.
"Our performance is not bad... I have (approved) 16
projects. There will be no problem of coaches," she said
winding up the discussion on the Rail Budget.
The Rail Budget was passed after Speaker Meira Kumar
suspended rules to allow the House take up the general
discussion on Rail Budget, supplementary demands for grants
and relevant appropriation bills together.
Referring to the crippling shortage of coaches and wagons,
she said, the Rae Bareli factory would roll out its first
coach in April.
"I will invite UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi for the
function in April," she said.
Banerjee said other factories would also come up to bridge
the demand-supply gap of coaches and wagons.
Refuting charges of ignoring Finance Ministry and Planning
Commission, the minister asserted that she has not done
anything without their approval.
"We discuss every proposal with Planning Commission before
going ahead... we should not play dirty politics in development
works," she said, adding that everything was done in
accordance with the constitutional provisions.
Earlier during the discussion, some members accused her
of bypassing Planning Commission and Finance Ministry.
The minister also assured the members that their
constituencies would get one passenger railway system (PRS)
on individual request.
About new lines in their constituencies, the members were
assured by the minister that Railways would conduct a
feasibility study and inform them about the fate of their
On concerns expressed by the members on projects pending
since long, Banerjee said such projects worth Rs 1,50,000 were
stalled because of fund crunch and these could not be financed
from earnings from fare and freight.
She assured all members that their request for Aadarsh
Stations in their constituencies would be considered but it is
not feasible to have too many World Class Stations because the
consultancy work alone requires funds to the tune of Rs 30
crore to Rs 40 crore.
The Railways bore extra financial burden due to imposition
of cess on diesel and 6th Pay Commission report, but did not
increase fare and freights.
About the Public Private Partnership (PPP) in Railways,
she said a committee was working on it.
She said anti-collision devices would soon be introduced
in seven railway zones to prevent mishaps.
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