New Delhi, Jul 11: Lawmakers in the Lok Sabha on Thursday made fervent appeal to the government to take up railway projects in their respective constituencies.
However, the debate had glimpses of political affiliation of the lawmakers as from the ruling side appreciated the government initiatives, and those from the opposition benches maintained that the government had no plan and vision.
RSP member N K Premachandran said the budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has mentioned that the government will need Rs 50 lakh crore for railway infrastructure but there are no proposals on how such a big amount will come in.
He also said such mega announcements were made in 2015-16 also but nothing was done to ensure adequate mobilisation.
Earlier, initiating the debate on Demand for Grants for Railways 2019-20, Congress floor leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdury said the government should come out of the tendency to depend on borrowings.
He also flayed the Public Private Partnership model proposed by the government.
Tripura West lawmaker Pratima Bhawmik appreciated the Modi government for providing rail experience in her state.
She said said the people of Tripura have never seen railways until 2017. 'It is because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that people of Tripura have been able to experience trains after 70 years of independence,' Ms Bhawmik said.
North East has been granted the highest amount ever till date in the Budget, she said.
BJP’s Sangeeta Kumari Singh Deo from Odisha said the country was experiencing a paradigm shift and the railway budget is in sync with the vision of 'New India'.
She outlined government initiatives including Make in India to build the railways through Transfer of Technology, forming an alliance with France to build 'World Class' stations, and installing CCTV cameras at stations.
She welcomed the initiative of Vande Bharat train and said dedicated freight corridors will improve the railway infrastructure.
K Rammohan Naidu of the TDP demanded that as promised during the formation of the Telangana state, the bifurcated state of Andhra Pradesh should be given a new Railway Zone at Visakhapatnam.
Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay mentioned about the job vacancies in Railways and said many people who undertake long journeys by trains look forward to having good-quality food as part of their enjoyment of the journey.
'But the quality of food delivered to the passengers is often not acceptable at all. One of my colleagues told me that eggs prepared in the previous night are delivered in the next day’s train,' he said.
He said, 'A few royal trains operate in the country, which are mainly for foreigners. They are Palace on Wheels, Maharaja Express, Golden Chariot, Royal Rajasthan on Wheels and Deccan Odyssey. They are all with more than five star facilities, and the tickets have to be purchased against payment of dollars. The point of concern though is that their occupancy rate has come down to below 30 per cent. Only vacant trains are moving.'
Indian Union Muslim League's P K Kunhalikutty said Kerala is largely neglected while taking up railway projects and said the issue of Kanjikode coach factory, which is in a limbo, must be addressed. (UNI)