Congress today slammed the Railway Budget as "pro-rich" with former Railway Minster Mallikarjun Kharge insisting that it is bereft of any new scheme, plan or railway line and seeks to please the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Kharge, who is also Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha, said that "the budget is only for Ahmedabad."
He also ridiculed the government's plans to introduce a bullet train in Mumbai-Ahmedabad sector and setting up of a Diamond Quadrilateral network of high speed rail connecting major metros and growth centres.
"Government has provided a sum of Rs 100 crore for the project. With this money only four to five kilometre of railway line could be constructed. Hence this plan will remain only a plan. Many announcements have been made but they will remain mere announcements. This is a PPP (Pubic Private Partnership) and FDI budget not a railway budget. The budget has nothing for the poor.
"It's a pro-rich budget. The budget has nothing new to offer. There is no new new scheme, no new plan and no new railway line. They themselves have admitted that it is a plan holiday. When they are not going to give anything what is the point in talking about it," Kharge told reporters outside Parliament after the budget was presented in Lok Sabha.
The former Railway Minister said that the government has a social responsibility towards people and wondered what will happen to public welfare if the focus is only on commercial viability what the government has frequently beent talking about.
Meanwhile, former Railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal also criticised Gowda for not introducing "anything new" in the rail budget, saying projects like linking ports with rail line and introducing Information Technology (IT) were "already in pipeline".
"Today they (BJP led government) are saying ports are to be linked with main rail line and its expenditure is to be incurred by those who own ports and factories and they should be given discounts in rail freight.
"They are stressing that they are doing it. (But)It has already been done. No new target has been given in the budget in this regard," he told reporters in Chandigarh.
"He (Railway Minister) has talked about Information Technology and said they will be using IT in a big way. Perhaps they do