P Rajeeve, CPI (M) Rajya Sabha MP from Kerala has moved a privilege motion against Mamata Banerjee charging the Railway Minister with “manipulating” figures to mislead Parliament in her latest Budget speech.
Maintaining that the privilege of the House had been violated, P Rajeeve said “manipulation and false statement on the achievement targets of the Railways during the presentation of the Railway Budget 2011 by the Minister.” He said while Banerjee had said in her budget speech that 700 km of new lines had been laid, the Finance Ministry’s Mid-Year Analysis 2010-11 said it was only 59 km.
Similarly, the Minister claimed 700 km of doubling and 1,000 km of electrification had taken place during the year, the Finance Ministry document maintained that these were 55 km and 203 kms till September 2010, Rajeeve told reporters.
“It is rather interesting that these Herculean figures of 641 km of new lines, 645 km of doubling, 797 km of electrification and 660 km of guage conversion has been achieved between September and March, in a country where the annual average for laying new lines is only 180 km,” he said.
The CPI (M) MP also said the budget and the revised figures for total passenger earnings for 2010 was pegged at Rs 26126.47 crore.
“It is virtually impossible to predict accurately the volume of passengers who would travel or the amount they would spend on it. How is it physically possible to predict exactly till the last digit the exact revenues that can be earned.”
He said the Minister had said in her budget speech that Railways already had a network of 37,000 km of optic fibre cable and work on another 12,000 km was in progress.
Noting that Banerjee had reiterated these figures in her speech, the CPI(M) MP said it “throws light on the fact that the Minister has committed violation of privilege of this House, which mandates immediate action” and sought the Rajya Sabha Chairman’s permission to raise the issue of privilege.
CPI(M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury said the Railway Minister has “misled the House and the nation” by giving out wrong information.