Railway budget neglected northeast, says Tripura government

Agartala, Feb 25 (IANS) Tripura’s Left Front government Thursday night criticised Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu for neglecting the northeastern states in the 2016-17 rail budget.

“The railway budget presented in the parliament by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has neglected the northeast by not providing adequate funds for the new constructions and on going constructions of railway infrastructure in the region,” Transport Minister Manik Dey told reporters.

“Six years after the finalisation of a new India-Bangladesh railway project — Agartala (India)-Akhaura (Bangladesh), the railway minister has allocated only Rs.150 crore while the project required Rs 1,000 crore,” he said.

The Agartala-Akhaura railway project was finalised in January 2010 when Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during her visit to New Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the railway project with Hasina during his visit to Dhaka in June last year.

“The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) led central government prepared the railway budget to appease the corporate sector,” Dey said adding that no new trains were introduced and no major railway project announced in the budget for the northeastern region comprising eights states.

He said that Tripura’s three MPs – Jitendra Chowdhury, Sankar Prasad Datta (both Lok Sabha) and Jharna Das Baidya (Rajya Sabha) – and the state government had urged the prime minister and railway minister on a number of times to set up a railway division and a railway recruitment board in Tripura, but the budget has neglected all these.

“Though there are proposal to increase allocation of meagre funds for some of the railway projects in the northeastern states, but there is no specific reference about many on going projects in the region,” Dey added.

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