Chandigarh, February 26, 2013:The Shiromani Akali Dal today strongly lashed at Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal for putting increase in Railway fare on autopilot by constituting Railway Tariff Authority and proposing enhancement of fuel adjustment charges every six months.
In a statement here today, Sukhbir Singh Badal, President Shiromani Akali Dal and Deputy Chief Minister Punjab said that it is for the first time in the history of independent India that Railway Ministry is devising this way to burden common man without seeking the mandatory sanction of Parliament.
He said that after tasting blood by allowing Multi National Oil Companies to enhance the price of petrol and diesel, now Railway Ministry has ‘outsourced’ Rail Fare increase to the proposed regulatory authority undermining the authority of Parliament. Rubbishing the claims that rail fares, which were increased in January this year have not been increased in the Rail Budget, Badal said that increase in Tatkal, Sleeper and other charges has increased the rail fare per ticket from Rs. 25 to Rs. 140. He said that people cannot be befooled by this hoodwinking exercise and termed this rail budget as a farewell budget of Congress led UPA Government as people have already made up their mind to elect NDA to power.
Describing 5% increase as fool hardy step, Badal said that this increase in rail freight would have cascading effect on inflation and crush the common man with escalating price rise.
Shiromani Akali Dal President said that denying Rail Coach Factory to Punjab after first offering it and giving it to Haryana exposes the inherent bias of Congress towards the border state Punjab. He said that the Chief Minister has already offered free land for the proposed Rail Coach Factory as demanded by Bansal and despite that the Railway Minister has shown his real congress face.
Describing proposed rail lines and introduction of some trains as illusionary exercise, Badal said that Railway Minister in his speech has himself admitted that Railway Ministry could start work on 40% of Rail links announced in previous Rail Budget and people of Punjab are not going to vote Congress Party in ensuing Lok Sabha elections merely on illusionary rail lines, which have not been laid during last 65 years of independence.
Lambasting Union Railway Minister for not acceding to the demands of Punjab for extension of Eastern Freight Corridor from Ludhiana to Amritsar and extension of Mumbai Rail Freight corridor to Ludhiana and Amrtisar, Badal said that non inclusion of Punjab in two freight corridors gives weigh to argument that Amarinder was trying hard to sabotage any major project for the state.
Regretting the fact that Bansal has failed to announce Bathinda-Delhi Shatabadi despite assurance to Member Parliament Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Badal said that by denying proper connectivity to Malwa region, Congress party was working hard to distract investors to make investments in the state.
Rejecting the Railway Budget outrightly, Badal said that National Democratic Alliance would oppose the budget that was meant to challenge the authority of the Parliament.