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Rivals in Kerala slam railway budget in one voice
Thursday February 26, 2015 7:48 PM, IANS

On expected lines, the Narendra Modi government's first full railway budget came under fire from the rival fronts in Kerala as they termed it nothing but rhetoric and lacklustre.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy responded by saying a lot of expectation was there on the budget, but when it came, it was a disappointing one.

"We did expect a fair deal, but barring some allocation for doubling in the central districts of the state, it was dismal. We had high hopes for the proposed Sabari rail (to link with the famed Sabarimala temple), but it did not materialise," Chandy said.

"Likewise, when it came to fares, despite the price of petroleum products going down, the freight fares have been hiked," he said.

Incidentally, the preliminary reports indicate that all Kerala got for various railway development activities was a mere Rs.450 crore, including a pittance of million for the proposed wagon factory at Palakkad.

Leader of opposition V.S. Achuthanandan pointed out that compared to the previous year's allocation, this time it was really disappointing.

"The entire focus of this budget appears to be going to be beneficial for the private sector. This indicates that the central government is making a slow exit from the railway sector and it would be detrimental for the country," said Achuthanandan.

Defending the budget as path breaking one with a sense of direction and purpose, BJP spokesperson Alphons Kannanthanam, a former senior bureaucrat, said: "All these years what was seen was nothing but assurances that never materialised."

"This time there is a specific direction and clarity that through the budget, specific goals have been charted to make the Indian Railways the best in the world in a matter of five years," said Kannamthanam.

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