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Rail Budget was like a train coach without passengers: Nitish Kumar

Terms the Rail Budget just a lofty speech with no action plan

Satyavrat Mishra  |  Patna 

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar watching Rail Budget 2015-16 on television in Patna on Thursday, February 26 2015 Picture by PTI

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today denounced the Rail and said it was "just a speech, without any budget". He also expressed apprehensions over stress on PPP model, terming them as "attempts at privatisation of railways through back door".

Kumar, who served as Railway minister during NDA regime of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, said the railway was "like a train coach, but there are no passenger in it". The Bihar CM said though it sounds good that there was no announcement of fare hike, but demanded haircut in fares due to decline in petroleum prices. "Seeing slide in prices of diesel due to downslide in international pricing, the fares should have been slashed in fact," asked Kumar.

The Bihar CM expressed disappointment over lack of any announcement regarding pending Railway projects in Bihar like two production units in Chapra and Madhepura started by Railway minister in UPA I Lalu Prasad.

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"Likewise there is no clarity on future of mega Railway bridges three of which are in Bihar," he said.

On announcement about new trains and increasing frequency of existing ones would be taken up later on, Kumar sarcastically said "the Railway seems divided into pieces."

"The budget was full of speech but without any action plan to support it", he said and apparently took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi by saying "though the budget was read by Suresh Prabhu it was prepared much earlier by somebody else."

He commented that stress on PPP model in Railways brings the apprehension about "attempt at privatisation of Railway through back door."

On promise of running bullet train in between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, he said his experience in Railway says "it is impractical."

"Such ideas (bullet train) are good for showcasing but it does not seem feasible as it would require a huge investment and large scale acquisition of land," he said.

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First Published: Thu, February 26 2015. 17:59 IST