Home > Uncategorized > Bashing Mamta – Congress in West Bengal. [Marxistindia] rail budget 2010

Bashing Mamta – Congress in West Bengal. [Marxistindia] rail budget 2010


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From: news from the cpi(m)
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Subject: [Marxistindia] rail budget 2010
Sent: Feb 24, 2010 7:32 AM

marxistindia
news from the cpi(m)

February 24, 2010

Press Statement

Railway Budget 2010: Total Gimmickry

The Railway Budget presented in Parliament today exposed a sharp
deterioration in the performance of the Indian Railways. Far from
containing any vision for the future of the Indian Railways, the Budget
speech has sought to conceal gross failures through misleading
announcements and gimmicks aimed at the forthcoming Assembly elections in
West Bengal.

Over 120 railway accidents have taken place so far during this financial
year. In this backdrop it is inexplicable how the allocations for the
Railway Safety Fund has been cut by Rs. 579 crore from last year.
Moreover, the Minister has strangely tried to shift the blame for railway
accidents on to rail rokos and natural disasters! This shows the
Minister’s distorted perspective on the crucial aspect of railway safety.

As per the Railway Ministry’s own estimates, over 1.7 lakhs Railway posts
were lying vacant in 2009, out of which nearly 90000 were posts related to
railway safety. The Minister has kept completely silent on filling up
these vacancies, which can provide job opportunities to the youth.

The Railway’s operating ratio (the ratio of total working expenses to the
earnings – a higher ratio implies deterioration), which was 90.5% in
2008-09 has risen to 94.7% in 2009-10. Such a sharp deterioration in just
one year reflects the gross mismanagement of Railway affairs by the
Minister. Gross Traffic Receipts in 2009-10 have fallen short of the
budgeted estimate by Rs. 63 crore. Moreover, plan investment in Railways
also fell short of the budgeted target of 2009-10 by Rs. 497 crore. This
clearly shows that the Railway Minister has not been able to implement the
tall promises that she made in the last Budget. In this context the
grandiose announcements of projects ranging from hospitals and diagnostic
centres, sports academies and musuems ring a trifle hollow.

By the Railway Minister’s own admission, many of her project announcements
were made without the sanction of the Planning Commission. Their
implementation therefore is highly suspect. This is further borne out by
the fact that for 2010-11, plan investment in Railways is budgeted to
increase by only Rs. 1142 crore, which amounts to a drastic fall in plan
investment in real terms. While the Railway Minister has made tall claims
on laying 1000 kms of new railway lines, it is shocking that the actual
plan allocations for gauge conversion, doubling of railway lines and new
rolling stock like wagons and carriages have been cut in nominal terms.
This squeeze in public investment in the Railways is accompanied by an
unprecedented thrust towards privatisation in all areas in the name of
PPP: from modernisation of railway stations; new railway lines; freight
and passenger corridors; locomotive, wagon and container manufacturing;
rail axle factory; parking complexes and bottling plants. This wholesale
privatisation programme for the Railways, opening up the entire sector for
private profiteering, will be inimical to national interest. It appears as
if the entire decision-making in the Railway Ministry has been handed over
to the corporate sector.

The Polit Bureau of the CPI (M) calls upon the people to protest against
these proposals, which are neither in the interest of the Railways nor in
the interests of providing relief and better travel and communication
facilities.

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