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March 21, 2002 | 1730 IST
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Opposition flays Railway Budget

The Opposition in the Lok Sabha on Thursday pilloried the railway minister for proposing measures that would entail heavy investment that his ministry could ill-afford.

Initiating a discussion on the Rail Budget for 2002-03, former Railway Minister C K Jaffer Sharief of Congress asked why Railways was taking the additional burden of indigenously making and supplying Rail Neer (drinking water) replacing the existing arrangements.

He said the proposal of Railways establishing their own power stations also involved huge unnecessary investments.

This has no rationale since the Railways have complained of a massive resource crunch, he said.

With policies like voluntary retirement scheme, divestment and unfettered liberalisation, the number of unemployed would only shoot up pushing the country towards anarchy, he said.

Sharief, however, had a word of praise for Railway Minister Nitish Kumar who had ''shown courage'' to enforce a moderate hike in rail fares and rationalise freight charges.

Referring to the number of rail accidents and the inevitable conclusion of human failure, he said a more humane approach was needed to address the issue.

The Rail Budget
The Rediff Budget Special

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