Panning the interim Railway budget as extremely disappointing, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Wednesday charged that step-motherly treatment has been meted out to the South, and Tamil Nadu in particular.
“Most of the new benefits are confined to the Northern parts of the country, which highlights the UPA’s step-motherly treatment of the South and Tamil Nadu in particular,” she said.
Jayalalithaa pointed out that there was hardly any addition to carrying capacity, both in terms of passengers and freight in the South and Tamil Nadu in particular. Very few new train connections had been announced for Tamil Nadu.
Besides, there was no word on additional funding for the completion of long-pending gauge conversion and new line projects in Tamil Nadu. To sustain the State’s growth, new investments in infrastructure would be critical. “But our hopes have been belied. Very limited additional funding has been announced and even ongoing projects will be delayed substantially,” she added. The Chief Minister said the new Railway Tariff Authority seemed to be a ploy to shift the onus of fixing tariff to a separate body to shake off responsibility for fixing tariff for a mode of transportation used by the common people.
“The UPA government is, as usual, trying to distance itself from tariff hikes as in the case of diesel and petrol prices,” she observed.
“The main Railway Budget to be presented in June 2014, by a new government will undoubtedly reflect the aspirations of the people of Tamil Nadu,” she added. On a sarcastic note, Jayalalithaa said the day’s highlight was the LS disruption, led by five UPA ministers. “This was the most telling statement on the extent to which frustration with the government had grown even within the Congress,” she added.