Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today described the NDA Government's maiden Railway budget as "fiscally responsible and bold" but urged the Centre to spare common man of the 'previous government's policy of fuel price linked fare increases.'
"I commend the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and the Railway Minister (Sadananda gowda) for having practiced transparency in placing before the country the true status of the Indian Railways. Their approach is fiscally responsible and very bold," she said in a statement here.
The Rail budget presented by Gowda was a serious exercise at consolidation "which the new Government at the Centre has been forced to undertake in the wake of the mismanagement of the UPA Government over the past decade of this extremely crucial sector," she said. Recognising the financial 'deep crisis' faced by Railways, the budget provides vision for the future, she said welcoming proposals like the Diamond Quadrilateral high speed rail network which she said will be a 'game changer' in terms of providing a transport infrastructure backbone for the country. The measures to improve freight performance was welcome she said and expressed hope that this would ease the coal availability position in thermal power stations in her state.
The Railway budget had placed considerable emphasis on improving the experience of the rail traveller by improving cleanliness, security, catering, toilet and other facilities at stations and on trains while safety in operations has also been appropriately accorded the highest priority, she noted. "However, I request the Prime Minister and the Railway Minister to spare the common people from the burden of further fare increases by not following the previous Government?s policy of fuel price linked fare increases," she said.
The Chief Minister welcomed Gowda's proposal to work with state governments on safety initiatives and expected that the priority for fund-allocation for long-pending projects will help in such projects in Tamil Nadu getting completed. She also welcomed the proposals to introduce new trains connecting Chennai to different parts of the country. Jayalalithaa said "we look forward to the new initiatives to raise finances and the proposed improvements in project and operational management bearing fruit and thereby delivering on the hopes and aspirations that have been created.'