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Indian left-wing parties call gov't railway budget "anti-people"

(Xinhua)

14:01, March 15, 2012

KOLKATA, India, March 14 (Xinhua) -- The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) Wednesday strongly protested the across the board hike in passenger fares announced in the Railway Budget along with the increase in freight charges for most commodities like coal, fertilizers, foodgrains, steel, cement and many other items.

Terming the budget as anti-people and which would ruin the Indian Railways, the CPI-M politburo in a statement Wednesday said, "The Railway Minister is imposing these burdens on the people in order to cover up his own inefficiencies, which has led to the bankruptcy of the Indian Railways. The railway budget making exercise has suffered from a steady erosion of credibility over the past few years, with budgetary targets going haywire in the course of the year."

The CPI-M called upon the people to protest against this anti- people railway budget which has imposed new burdens in the form of fare hikes and increase in freight charges.

The CPI-M also cautioned the people against a gradual destruction of the Indian Railways under the present dispensation through false promises, gross mismanagement and inefficiencies.

West Bengal's opposition Left Front said that Railway Minister Trivedi had failed to suggest ways to generate funds for the cash strapped organisation and address commuter safety concerns. "They have failed to generate resources. What about the projects that were announced in last year's rail budget? Many projects have been announced without any concrete financial backing," said Nilotapal Basu, central committee member, Communist Party of India- Marxist.

"It is a populist budget. But what about the issue of revenue generation and railway safety measures? Nothing concrete has come out in these areas," said Kshiti Goswami, state secretary, Revolutionary Socialist Party.

This budget has talked about the need for modernisation but it has not earmarked the resources. It is banking on the central government for its projects. So if the general budget doesn't allot enough money to the railways, then what is the future of these projects?" asked Swapan Banerjee of the Communist Party of India.

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