Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda today presented the Narendra Modi government’s first railway budget. The budget was focused on safety, speed and services.

Leader of opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal and BJP state president Satpal Singh Satti lauded the railway budget and termed it as farsighted and pro development. Dhumal said that railway minister has included two proposed railway lines Una-Hamirpur and Amb-Hoshiyarpur of the state in its budget.

However, Congress and CPM has rejected the budget and termed it disappointing and contrary to the expectation of Himachal Pradesh.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said that the budget has neither contains the proposal of extensions of rail lines nor the conversion of existing rail tracks into Broad Gauge thereby giving Himachal nothing except assurances by the NDA Government.

Virbhadra Singh said that during the UPA regime, few surveys for new lines/extensions were announced in the rail Budget but that also failed to find any mention this time.

CPM also rejected the railway budget and termed it as a cosmetic exercise, high on rhetoric and low in substance. CPM state leader Tikender Singh Panwar said that the rail budget has belied the expectations of the people of the state which is in dire need for the spread of rail infrastructure.

The CPM leader said that the state has a tremendous potential for rail growth not just because of its heavy tourist inflow (more than 1.5 crore visitors visited last year), apple and cement carriage is one of the major transports that can sustain the railways in this hilly state.

Panwar further stated that the sub-text of the budget is designed to impose greater burdens on the common people who need the railways the most and who use it the most. He raised doubts over the FDI and to undertake all further expansion and modernization through the PPP route. Tikender stated that it’ll further put the pressure on the common man.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.