Jaya slams rail budget as 'major disappointment'
Chennai: Terming the railway budget as a "major disappointment", Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Tuesday said the hike in supplementary and freight charges would cause an increase in prices of essential commodities and fuel inflation.
The budget was "uninspiring" and lacked any long-term perspective with regard to infrastructure development, she said in a statement here.
"The Railway Budget places an even greater burden on the already overburdened common people through an indirect passenger fare increase by way of levy of higher fees and an increase in freight tariff which will cause an increase in prices of essential commodities.
"The increase in freight charges at this time will fuel inflation as it will increase the cost of commodities, especially essential, and important raw materials like food grains, cement, coal, iron ore," she said.
This would further increase pressure on state electricity utilities which are already suffering, she said, adding, there had been an indirect increase in passenger fares by hiking a number of supplementary charges.
"This is an attempt to hoodwink the public," she charged.
Jayalalithaa said no concrete measures or significant increases in investment, which were the need of the hour to enhance economic growth, had been proposed.
No high speed freight corridor has been proposed in peninsular India including Tamil Nadu "which is a crying need of the region," the chief minister said.
She alleged that an increasing portion of the costs traditionally met by the Centre and the Railway Ministry were sought to be pushed on to state governments such as project costs on new lines and passenger safety amenities like foot overbridges which was "totally unacceptable".
She pointed out that no additional services have been announced for Chennai Suburban System and the "very few new" railway lines and services announced for the state were schemes demanded many years ago and based on repeated requests from the state government.
On the whole, this Rail Budget continued the trend of step-motherly treatment habitually meted out to Tamil Nadu and is a major disappointment, she said.
"The Railway budget has only paid lip service to the common people while placing untold burdens on them," she said.