Sir, I rise to oppose the Railway Budget.I must say that this was a very disappointing Budget. We thought that Shri Pawan Bansal has no constituency; he has no State to cater to; like the earlier Ministers, he will present a favourable balanced Budget. But unfortunately, it seems that he has been brought to this post just to increase the burden on the common people.
Earlier, he increased the passenger fares by 21 per cent and raised Rs.6,600 crore. Again, in this Railway Budget, he has increased the charges for reservation, cancellation, Tatkal, etc. by another 5-6 per cent, thereby trying to raise Rs.600 crore.
The Railways is the main carrier of the country. We see that he has increased the cost of transporting diesel, kerosene, LPG by six per cent. This will make these items costlier; this was done only to raise money. That is why, I say that this is a pedestrian Budget. I expected that Shri Bansal would present a vision of Railways for the next ten years, like Kumari Mamata Banerjee had presented a Vision-2020, but there is no vision in this Budget.
The countries are built on the railway system. America, Canada and now China are being built on their railway systems. But in India, we have failed because in 65 years after freedom, we have added only 10,000 route kms. to make it 65,000 kms. Now, look at Brazil – how it is expanding its railway network, being a large country. That is how, the economic prosperity travels to the hinterland.
But here, Shri Pawan Bansal has no such intentions, other than raising more money for the Railways. He should have been an accountant instead of being the Railway Minister. He has no vision on how the Railways should go.
Look at the Japanese bullet trains – Shinkansen. In the last 17 years, there has not been a single accident on Shinkansen, though it runs at the speed of 250-300 kms. per hour. Now, they have introduced magnetic levitation technology, where the wheels do not touch the rails.
We have not talked about China which was 20 years back, 15 years behind us. Now it is 40 years ahead of us in Railways. Where is the Railway Minister`s vision of a future? If you go to Tokyo, over the Central Station there is a 20 storied house. We have not thought of building world-class railway station. There is no mention of a vision for the future. That is why I am disappointed.
Sir, one of the major reasons of congestion on our freight routes is the archaic signalling system. In airports, planes take off and land within a spell of one minute. Here, one train passes then the signal becomes green and then after 20 minutes another train will pass. All lines are getting clogged. He has not talked of modernising the signalling system; connecting the whole thing by optical fibre so that the Chairman Railway Board, sitting in his chamber would know which train is moving on a moving board. No thought of modernising the Railways for the benefit of the people is there.
Sir, the Railways are going, how will we transport? Lines are clogged. How will we ensure food security? The way Railways are going, I do not know whether they will be in a position to pay bonus to its 40 lakh employees in the current year in spite of all the money he is trying. The tracks, the rolling stocks, the platforms, terminals, all of these need modernisation. How can we get money? Yes, Gross Budgetary support has to be increased but if we can reduce the operating ratio in the Railways, we can get money from the whole world. You may look at the Metros. In different cities Metros are being built. Japenese JAICA is giving money for Metros, even for Delhi Metro. We are getting money for the dedicated freight corridor between Mumbai and Delhi. Money is not the factor. The factor is whether you will modernise the whole structure. You still have a Railway Board. It is a continuation of the legacy of the British system. We do not need a Railway Board. If all the Ministries can run with one Secretary, why do we need a Railway Board? Railway Board is there only so that they can have big bungalows and the bungalow peons can serve the wives of the Railway officers. They hold on to the archaic principles and that is how Railway is not going forward.
Shri Pawan Bansal has said that he is a frequent traveller on Railways. Where does he travel, Sir? He travels between Delhi and Chandigarh on Shatabdi Express, Executive class. He has added one Anubhuti Class for greater comfort. Has he ever travelled by a local train? He may come to Kolkata and go from Sealdah to Barrackpore. Human beings are herded into trains like cattle and there is no relief for them. The Minister has said that he will only add 18 suburban trains to Kolkata; 72 to Mumbai and only 18 to Kollkata. Why? Kolkata should have had more suburban trains. He is not thinking of that.
Sir, unfortunately, this Railway Budget is to kill Bengal. You may have an anger, an issue with TMC but why penalise the people of Bengal for that purpose? I will give you an example and you will be astounded. Kolkata has so much population that the suburban railway is not being able to carry the load. Ms. Mamata Banerjee, as the Railway Minister, had announced a series of metro projects connecting the Centre of Kolkata to different parts. I will now quote the figure to show this Railway Budget is an attempt to kill the Bengal and Kolkata.
He should not travel to Kolkata as angry people may show black flags to him. There is a line extension of Metro Railway from Dum Dum-Baranagar-Nawapara to NSCBI Airport. It was Rs.3040 crore and only Rs.30 crore have been given. That means, it will take hundred years to complete the project. As regards Kolkata Circular railway – Dum Dum Cantonment to NSCBI Airport – against Rs.573 crore project, he has given only Rs.24 core. Is it alms? As regards Joka to BBD Bagh – for Rs.2619 crore project, he has given only Rs.45 crore; NawaparaBarasat via Airport – Rs.2394 crore project, he has given only 170 crore; Boranagar – Barrackpore to Barrackpore and Dashineswar through my Constituency – against Rs.2069 crore project, he has given only Rs.10 crore. If I was not democratic, Iwould have sat in hunger strike in front of his room in protest against the way he has deprived the people of Kolkata of having good transport. As regards East-West Metro, when we were in the Ministry of Urban Development, this project was under this Ministry. Around 80 per cent of the work overhead had completed. It is a Rs.4874 crore project to be funded by JICA, do you know how much money he has given? He has given only Rs.100 crore. Will the project ever get completed? It will take 48 years to complete this project. I have never seen such a cruel joke on the people of a State.
Sir, West Bengal had some no railway districts. Kumari Mamata Banerjee had tried to give projects like Laxmikantapur to Namkhana which was a Rs.546 crore project and he has given only Rs.5 crore. For all these projects, money was sanctioned and put on the Pink Book. For three years, they had budget and now they will get Rs.5 crore. Tarakeswar to Bishnupur is a very important sector but it has no railway line. It is a Rs.1500 crore project and only Rs.20 crore have been given. Then Tarakeswar to Furfura Sharif was a Rs.527 crore project and he has given only 2 crore. Hashina Bagh to Hingal Ganj right up to Sunderbans – for Rs.260 crore project, he has given only Rs.10 crore. What a cruel joke on West Bengal it is.
Now again Kumari Mamata Banerjee had announced some factories. Nawapara Metro Coaches Repair Workshop in my constituency – for Rs.147 crore, he has given only Rs.1 crore. Dankuni Factory for manufacture of components for E&T locos – for Rs.265 crore project, he has given only Rs.19 crore; Kanchrepara New Rail Coach Manufacturing Unit, it was Rs.864 crore project and he has given only Rs.2.94 crore. Then Haldia Factory for Diesel EMUs – for Rs.122 crore project, he has given only Rs.10 crore.
Then, again on South-Eastern Railway, Kumari Mamata planned a railway line through Jangal Mahal, a Maoist infested area – Bhadutola to Jhargram via Lalgarh right in the heart of Maoist area. It is a Rs.289 crore project. But the Railway Minister has given only Rs.1 crore. It is a joke on the Maoist affected people. On Tumluk-Digha – Rs.1075 crore and he has given only Rs.15 crore and for Digha-Jaleswar connecting West Bengal to Odisha, it is a Rs.553 crore project and he has given only Rs.1 crore. Howrah to Furfura Sharif, which is the biggest Muslim pilgrimage – for Rs.535 crore project, he has given only Rs.4 crore. It is the cruellest joke on the people of the State.
Look at how trains have been deprived. A survey for new lines – 59 and none for West Bengal; gauge conversion projects – 5 and none for West Bengal; doubling projects – 25 surveys and none for West Bengal; new lines – 7 and none for West Bengal; doubling – 10 and none for West Bengal; and electrification – 5 and none for West Bengal.
Twenty five new projects on socio-economic considerations have been announced, but none for the State of West Bengal. In respect of new express trains, 67 of them have been announced, but only four for the State of West Bengal – one bi-weekly, and three weekly. What a joke on the people of Bengal! But this joke has not been played only on the people of Bengal. Such a joke has been played on the people of almost all the States in the country. When the Railway Budget was being presented, the hon. Members from the State of Uttar Pradesh stood up and said that they wereagainst this Budget. The hon. Members from the State of Bihar stood up and complained that the people of their State have been discriminated against. Take the case of Maharashtra. Shri Sharad Pawar himself complained at the UPA meeting that the people of the State of Maharashtra were totally unhappy with the Railway Budget. Now, whom Shri Bansal has made happy in this Budget? He has made happy the people of two cities – Delhi and Chandigarh. So, this is not a Budget but a tale of two cities! The hon. Railway Minister is a pious man and so he has to pay obeisance to the Pope and that is why Rae Bareli has been promised another factory. The Pope of the Congressmen stays in Rae Bareli.
Again, doubling of the line from Rae Bareli to Amethi has been announced-
Let us take the case of Khunti which is in the State of Jharkhand. Your State also has been deprived and so you should sympathise with us. There is no justice and no vision in this Budget. What this Budget will do is add to the inflation rate and result in rise in prices.
Sir, I am making my last point and then I will conclude. Most of the former Railway Ministers of this country were great men. One of them was the late Jagjivan Ram. He had announced that all Paani Pardhe would be from the Dalit community. It was an attempt at eliminating untouchability. The late Madhav Rao Scindia introduced foiled packs for railway food. The late Madhu Dandavate, as Railway Minister, introduced cushions for second class sleepers, previously it was all wooden. Then came Shri Lalu Yadav and he decided to accord a status to the coolies in the railways which was mentioned. Ms Mamata Banerjee allowed izzat tickets for Rs. 25 to poor people and also gave the rights to the MPs to travel cheap. She also introduced the Duranto train to which a second class coach also was attached for poor people. Shri Lalu Yadav introduced Garib Rath and Ms. Mamata Banerjee introduced Duranto. Ms. Mamata Banerjee also gave the vision 2020. Which class is Shri Pawan Bansal catering to? He is saying that there will be an exclusive lounge in Delhi where the rich can sit- (Interruptions)
Sir, the Railways is one of the major modes of transport in this country. About two crore people travel on Railways everyday. Those who are rich can travel by plane but for the poor there is no transport other than the Railways to travel- (Interruptions)
The late Lal Bahadur Shastri resigned over a Railway accident at Allahabad. Recently during the Kumbh Mela around 17 people died in a Railway accident and the Railway Minister does not talk of resignation. There are no `Shastris` and no `Jagjivan Rams` any longer in this country. There are no principles. Even after the death of 17 people in a accident in the railway platform while going for the Kumbh Mela, the hon. Railway Minister does not talk of resignation.
Therefore this is not a populous budget and there is nothing for the people. I don't feel like commenting on the budget. This is a budget for those who will travel on Shatapdi Express…I strongly oppose the budget and I am sure you too will join me in condemning the same.. Thank You.