Agencies, New Delhi
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday dismissed the opposition parties contention that merging Railway Budget with the main Budget for a financial year was an erroneous move and claimed that on the contrary entire country has appreciated the decision of the Modi government.
“Railway Budget used to be Rajnaitik (purely political Budget),” Mr Goyal said in Lok Sabha giving reply to the marathon round of debate on the Demands for Grants for Railways.
“Such a Budget (separate Railway Budget) was strictly made for political reasons and was only aimed to misleading (gumrah) the entire country and the MPs,” he said.
Hundreds of trains and tracks used to be announced “just to win elections and to make people in constituencies happy”, Mr Goyal said.
In his speech, he lauded the role of two of his predecessors Suresh Prabhu and D V Sadanand Gowda for putting the rail back on track.
He also congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving a new vision to the railways.
“Prime Minister Modi has done away with the separate Railway Budget,” he said amid thumping of desks by his colleagues in the ruling side.
“It was a decision of Desh-heet (national service) and Jan-heet (service for the people),” Mr Goyal said.
Railway Minister also referred to the launching of freight corridor project by the UPA regime since 2007 but said in seven years between 2007 and 2014 – only Rs 9000 crore was sanctioned for the same.
“….but not even one km of track linking was done,” he remarked.
“However, after 2014, we brought in improvement in the same work, fast paced the work…..and in just five years, we invested Rs 39,000 crore,” he said adding 1900 km track linking too has been done.
“By 2021, two freight corridors will be ready,” Mr Goyal said.
He defended government stance on PPP model to bring about improvement in the running of railways.
“We will encourage PPP model,” he said and maintained this will bring in improvement in freight carriage network also.
He said the corporatisation scheme in Railways too was started by the Congress and this move will help bring in money from overseas sources also.
“Why are you shedding crocodile tears now,” he said slamming Congress for questioning the corporatisation move.