Rail Budget: Odisha CM slams Centre over fund allocation

Bhubaneswar: Terming the Union Railway Budget 2013-14 as a "big disappointment”, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday showed dissatisfaction over the Centre' allocation of only Rs 869 crore  against its demand of Rs 3,050 crore.

Reacting to the fund allocation Patnaik said, “This is grossly insufficient considering the requirement of ongoing projects in the state.”

Patnaik added, “The Central government has once again given step motherly treatment to the state especially when the state is giving more than Rs 14,000 crore revenue per annum to Railways.”

To the state's demand for 31 new trains, the Rail budget has sanctioned only six, he said, adding, the frequency of only one train was increased against the demand for 18.

"Against our demand of 13 new lines, only one line has been sanctioned. Though Odisha has been demanding expansion of rail network in Left Wing Extremism affected and tribals areas, there has been no such sanction," Patnaik said.

Odisha’s long standing demand for expansion of rail network in the Naxal affected and tribal areas of the state has also been ignored.

Besides, the chief minister also said it is very unfortunate that the promised world-class railway stations for Puri and Bhubaneswar have not been sanctioned though it was announced in 2010.

"This is unfortunate when the state is gearing up for celebration of Nabakalebar festival," Patnaik said.
 
Naveen added, "Supplementary charges for superfast trains, besides increase in reservation fee, clerkage charge, cancellation charge and tatkal charges will indirectly increase the passenger fare."

The chief minister also objected the proposal to link pasenger fare and freight charges with fuel adjustment component, saying that it will increase fare and freight charges from time to time and have a cascading effect, leading to price rise of essential commodities

BJD MP Baiyajant Panda termed the rail budget as 'election oriented' and said there was no good project for Odisha.

Congress MP from Nabarangpur Pradip Majhi described the rail budget as 'good' but conceded more could have been done for Odisha.

Samajwadi Party state president Rabi Behera said the railway budget is not only 'anti-people' but also hopeless for Odisha.