Press Statement of Shri AnanthKumar, MP, General Secretary, BJP, on the Interim Railway Budget for the year 2014-15
The Interim Railway Budget presented by Shri Mallikarjun Kharge is not more than an election gimmick and stunt. The proposals in this ‘Election Budget’ are so short-lived that their implementation itself is question mark because in the next 15 days the model code of conduct is likely to come into force.

We can term this Interim Rail Budget as a ‘Farewell Budget’ of the UPA-Congress Government. The entire country is looking forward to the real Rail Budget under the leadership of Shri Narendra Modi’s Government in the coming months which is going to revolutionize the Indian Railways.

The 10 years of UPA will be considered as the worst for the State of Karnataka as far as the Railways are concerned. It is said that the quality of Governance is always showcased by the services that it provides for its citizens and in India this is true in the case of Railways. The people of Karnataka and whole of India are waiting for the Lok Sabha elections when they can remove the triumvirate of Smt. Sonia, Dr. Singh and Sh. Rahul who have amply demonstrated their ineptness and lack of vision.

The BJP Government of Karnataka was the only State Government in India which extended the maximum support to Railway projects by giving budgetary allocations out of the State Budget, commitment of free land for railway projects and also set up a Special Joint Legislature Committee for this purpose. Despite this Karnataka and the South-Western Railway Zone always got the least share in new trains, doubling, electrification, gauge conversion, new lines or passenger amenities.
Karnataka and the SW Railway Zone have given the maximum returns against investment ratio for the Railways for many years now. But every Rail Budget of the UPA has given the least allocation to this Zone.

This attitude of successive UPA Governments at the centre has resulted in
o The failure of the UPA Governments to undertake projects in the PPP mode. For example even though the Government of Karnataka has come forward with unique Joint-Development projects by allocating land & funds from the State Budget, the Railways has not contributed it’s share resulting in these projects pending from a long time.

o The Suburban Rail Service for Bangalore for which the Karnataka Government has committed 50% of the project cost and the Bangalore-Mysore & Bangalore-Tumkur rail corridors with doubling, electrification & automatic signalling being totally ignored.

o Karnataka is the 8th largest state in area but has the fourth lowest rail density excluding the North-east & Jammu & Kashmir.

o Except for the one weekly train service to Katra announced in this budget there is still no direct connectivity from any destination in Karnataka to destinations such as Amritsar, Jammu Tawi, Dehradun & Varanasi. This is despite Bangalore being one of the fastest growing cities whose IT and Services Industry attracts people from all over India.

o Railway stations and passenger amenities in all the cities of Karnataka are in a neglected state and there is no improvement over the last ten years.

o For the common man to get a confirmed reservation even months in advance is a harrowing experience and is always sold out. There has been no political will to be able to ensure fair opportunity to people with no access to the internet.

o The conditions and facilities of the trains have also remained as they were 10 years ago. While other Zones and States have got new design coaches, we, in Karnataka have to still travel in old coaches which are in poor condition.

o The total disregard to the safety factor saw the occurrence of major train accidents in the region which resulted loss of many lives in the following instances in just the last two years to name a few:

– Fire in the Bangalore City – Nanded express in Anantapur district on 28.12.2013

– Derailment of the Muzaffarpur-Yeswantpur Express near Arakkonam on 10.04.2013.

– The Indore Yeswantpur Express met with an Accident at Medak District on 19.12.2012

– The Hubli – Bangalore Hampi Express collided with a goods train near Penukonda on 22.05.2012