Mounting an attack on the Railway Budget for being “West Bengal-centric”, opposition today charged Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee with showering “special affection” on her home state going to assembly polls in two years.
“Mamata gave a lot of mamata (affection) to West Bengal ... She has to fight elections in the state. But she should remember that she is the Railway Minister not for West Bengal alone but for the entire country,” Samajwadi Party member Virendra Bhatia said in the Rajya Sabha.
Participating in the resumed discussion on the Railway Budget, he said the projects announced by previous ministers should not be shelved.
Citing an example, Bhatia said the proposal for train services to facilitate Vaishnodevi pilgrims announced during her predecessor Lalu Prasad’s tenure has been shelved. Likewise, construction of two overbridges in Lucknow which was announced during NDA regime has been put on the backburner.
Bhatia complained that the quality of food and other passenger amenities has deteriorated. “The beds given on journey stink and the blankets carry infections ... There are cockroaches and mosquitoes in the First Class coaches,” he rued.
Tarini Kanta Roy (CPI-M) wanted speedier gauge conversion in North Eastern states. He said the budget has not addressed the issue of contract workers and millions of vendors engaged in the railways.