Bangalore: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah Tuesday dubbed the railway budget for 2014-15 disappointing as its proposals failed to meet the expectations of the people in the state.
“The first rail budget, presented by D.V. Sadananda Gowda, who hails from the state, is disappointing, as it falls short of our expectations and does not meet the needs of our people,” Siddaramaiah said in a statement here.
Lamenting that the budget failed to do justice to the southern state, he said some of its proposals such as implementing many projects through PPP (public-private participation) mode indicated that Gowda was preparing to hand over the railways to the private sector.
Recalling that Gowda’s predecessor, Mallikarjun Kharge, who also hails from the state, had presented a pro-passenger interim budget for this fiscal Feb 12, the chief minister said Gowda’s budget was anti-people, as he had already increased passenger fares by 14.6 percent and freight rates by 6.5 percent, making commuting in trains and transporting goods costly.
“There is no mention in the budget speech if the proposals in the interim budget Kharge announced for the state such as survey of new lines, gauge conversion and doubling of tracks to increase rail density and provide better connectivity for passengers and freight movements would be implemented this fiscal,” Siddaramaiah said.
Meanwhile, union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Ananth Kumar, who also hails from Karnataka, however, termed the rail budget visionary, pragmatic, growth-oriented and people-friendly.
“Gowda presented a practical budget, taking into consideration all aspects, as the railways were forced to survive with limited resources over a decade, straining its financial position to a point of no return,” he said in a statement from New Delhi.
Ananth Kumar, who represents Bangalore South parliamentary constituency, lauded Gowda for introducing a high speed train from Mysore to Chennai via Bangalore, a premium train from Bangalore to Kamakhya in Assam, four express and three passenger trains from the state.
“As Bangalore is growing at a rapid pace with substantial increase in floating population, I am happy that the budget has proposed Byyappanahalli in the city’s eastern suburb as a coaching terminal to meet the demand of heavy passenger traffic. The proposal to enhance the rail network of Bangalore with suburban areas for better connectivity will provide alternative transport to the commuting public,” he added.