Anurag Thakur, Member of Parliament and National President, Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha (BJYM) has rejected Railway Budget 2013, presented in Parliament today, and titled “The Rae-Bareli Railway Budget.” Thakur alleged that to please the Congress leadership rather than the ‘Aam Adami’.

Anurag Thakur said that Railway Budget was high on hope, but it fell flat on the promises made in the past. He went onto to say that it lacked continuity, fiscal prudence and was silent on why rail projects taken up in the last nine years remained incomplete. North India, especially Himachal Pradesh was hopeful that Pawan Kumar Bansal being from this region would address their concerns; however he neither provided any concrete projects nor substantial gains for the people of Himachal.

He said that Prem Kumar Dhumal during his tenure as Himachal’s Chief Minister had first raised the issue of the construction of the new railway line from Bhanupali-Bilaspur-Manali-Leh with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the national interest. The Prime Minister had given a public assurance four years ago, however inspite of this the current Minister and his Ministry are still debating its merits. This line is important not only for tourism purposes but also for national security as it would have helped our security forces.

Thakur said that while the Railway Minister steered clear of taking a position on fare hikes, he misled people by increasing the cost of Tatkal ticket bookings, reservation charges, cancellation charges and class wise fare hikes. Moreover increase in freight fares will contribute to inflation and in no way propel industrial growth nor bring in substantial revenue for the railways.

Former chief minister of Himachal Pradesh and leader of opposition in Himachal Vidhan Sabha Prem Kumar Dhumal also denounced the railway budget and said the UPA government has once again given biased treatment to Himachal. He said

“Announcement of holding survey for the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh line shows that the Union government is not interested in extending rail line to Leh through Himachal Pradesh,” he said. “Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail line is not only of strategic importance but would also boost tourism in the area. The budget presented by Bansal too has left Himachal residents feel cheated.”

BJP’s national vice-president Shanta Kumar described the railway budget as discriminatory and disappointing. He said

Despite the strategic importance of the Mandi-Manali-Leh rail line, the central government has been indifferent towards its construction

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