The union railway minister of India - Mamta Banerjee has presented the Rail Budget 2011 in Lok Sabha. Keeping her word for "Common Man", Mamta has delievered a budget with no fare hikes, no freight rate increases and a sustainable train travel. The Bengal lady termed her vision for Indian Railways as a "path of modernization" as she expanded her Duronto concept with 9 new trains. Besides this, introduction of 3 new Shatabdi trains, 56 Express trains and other special trains have surely enriched the fleet of Asia's second largest railway network. Declaration of special discounts for physically handicapped and senior citizens has surely grabbed the Indian railways a vote of thanks. The upcoming Infra bonds of railways worth Rs. 100 Billion are all set to carve a new path for corporate exposure of Indian railways, by which the funds accumulated can be used for further betterment.
But the word in media or rather, a majority of Indian masses points towards special grants for West Bengal. The honorable minister has took a giant step forward to continue the age old tradition of Indian railway ministers. Catering to her native state, where elections are due in a short time, 'Didi' announced many soaps including 34 new metro-trains in Kolkata, a rail park in Nandigram, 50 more suburban services, a track-machine factory at Uluberia. However, the Rail Budget 2011 has witnessed the uprising of a well suppressed face of Indian politics, where a regional leader fights tooth and nail to oppose the setting up of an ambitious automobile project in Singur, but contradicts her stay by approving a railway coach factory for the same place. This is the million dollar question still left unanswered.
However, aspiring for heavy investments involving a whooping sum of 576.3 billion rupees for the financial year 2011-12 and plans to lay down almost 2500 km of new railway tracks, including a dedicated 700 km track for freight carriages, the Indian railways appear to be moving in top gear for a planned advancement and a cherishing travel experience.
"Mamata 'hijacked' rail ministry." Jayalalithaa, AIADMK Chief
"It is a common man`s budget without increase in freight and passenger fares, thereby it will help to weaken cost-push element of inflation." Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India
"It is a deceitful budget done through the sleight of hand. This railway budget is a victim of coalition compulsions".Sitaram Yechury, CPI-M Rajya Sabha leader