The Shiv Sena, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) ally at the Centre and in Maharashtra, strongly criticised the Railway Budget terming it “disappointing”. According to Shiv Sena members of Parliament (MPs) Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil and Gajanan Kirtikar, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu made a slew of announcements but there was no clarity on how those would be funded.
This is Shiv Sena’s second attempt to target the BJP-led government after its repeated attack against the amendments to the land acquisition Bill.
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Prabhu had quit the Sena to join the BJP in November 2014.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis countered the Sena’s criticism, saying Prabhu had done justice to Maharashtra. According to Fadnavis, announcements such as the launch of the third phase of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project with an investment of Rs 11,500 crore were crucial for the state.
Adhalrao-Patil told Business Standard: “The rail Budget is nothing but an introduction of railway management and training development system by a chartered accountant (referring to Prabhu). There is a mention of ERP, SAP and message alarm system, without the much-needed thrust on infrastructure and connectivity.”
On the other hand, Kirtikar, who is elected from the Mumbai north west constituency, claimed that the budget has been a major disappointment especially for the common man and the Mumbaikar in general.
Shiv Sena MP Rahul Shewale, who is elected from the Mumbai north central seat, said although Prabhu has proposed slew of measures to improve amenities for the rail commuters, he has refrained from increasing train services in Mumbai where a record 7.5 million commuters daily travel in suburban services.
Shewale said Prabhu has however, announced the completion of project report for the Rs 60,000 crore Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train in three months, launch of Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP)-III which will include doubling of Panvel-Karjat and quadrupling of Virar-Dahanu.
He admitted that the introduction of air conditioned local service was nothing new.
Moreover, state Congress president Manikrao Thakre criticised Prabhu for his failure for not putting in place a road map for the completion of much debated railway projects including Pune-Nashik, Ahmednagar-Beed-Parali, Wardha-Yavatmal-Nanded and expansion of Mumbai central,western and suburban railways.
NCP MP Supriya Sule, who is daughter of former union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, took strong objection against Prabhu's suggestion to MPs to shell out money from their funds to improve railway services and stations especially when they have to contribute to Swachha Bharat and other initiatives too. Besides, there have been no announcement on new trains.