Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha on Monday picked holes in the 2009-10 Railway Budget, as the BJP accused the government of "misleading" the people during the last five years on the issue of passenger fares and suggested that more focus should be on basic services.
Participating in a discussion on the railway budget, several members said that the finances of the railways were in a mess.
Initiating the debate, Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley criticised the decision of the railways to venture into non-core areas and advised it to stick to safety and comfort of passengers.
Referring to new schemes announced in the budget, he said that railway ministry was trying to become a "parallel government".
Jaitley said that passenger fares were increased through surcharge on superfast trains, inbuilt reservation charges and Tatkal scheme.
Referring to the proposals for construction of complexes and budget hotels, he sought to know whether running malls, hotels, medical colleges, nursing colleges, optical fibre units and printing press was in its jurisdiction.
"Railways cannot be allowed to become a parallel government. The Prime Minister must examine it," he said.