New Delhi: RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Wednesday
described the railway budget as "disappointing" and said the
ministry`s attempt to attract private firms to fund the rail
projects is like "chasing a dream".
"The budget is disappointing. The railway ministry`s
balance sheet is in poor shape. There is no provision for
funds in it and private investment in railway projects is
inadequate," Prasad told reporters here.
Referring to various public-private partnership
(PPP) initiatives introduced during his tenure in the previous
UPA government, Prasad said "due to recession in 2008, private
investment in railway projects had suffered. Now the situation
is even worse for the ministry and all talk by it of
attracting private funding, is like chasing a dream".
He said that "many banks as well as companies involved
in manufacturing of locomotives, lost money during the
economic meltdown and unless they are assured of returns, no
company will come forward to participate in railway projects.
The situation in the ministry is a matter of concern".
Prasad said Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee has
sanctioned greater funds for railway connectivity in those
areas of Bihar, where Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has a
"In most of the railway connectivity projects, she has
only sanctioned Rs one crore for each section. However, for
sections coming under Nitish`s area, the sanctioned amount is
far greater," the former Railway Minister said.
Prasad also blamed Banerjee of not taking follow
up action on the projects which he had started.
"I had introduced various passenger amenity measures
and created new divisions. However, no follow up action has
been taken on my decisions," he said.
The RJD chief said he had made Indian Railways into a
profitable venture during his tenure, but it was now in bad