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Mixed reactions in Orissa to Mamata Banerjee’s rail budget

Bhubaneswar, Feb 24 (IANS) Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee’s railway budget was praised by many in Orissa for not having a fare hike but some expressed their displeasure for not allocating adequate funds to the state.

The railway budget also came in for praise for the proposal to undertake a survey in socially backward areas to improve connectivity.

 

‘It is a good budget,’ said Raghunath Mohapatra, a passenger at the Bhubaneswar railway station.

 

‘We appreciate her for not proposing an increase in the railway fare. We also praise her for proposing to undertake surveys for the lines in interior areas such as Talcher-Phulbani-Lanjigarh and Junagarh-Jaypore-Malkangiri,’ he said.

 

‘She has also proposed about 10 news trains for our state,’ Mohapatra added.

 

State Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Jual Oram, however, was not too happy.

 

‘We are disappointed with this budget. It has nothing much for us compared to the income the railway is generating from here,’ Oram told IANS.

 

‘The railway minister has tried to please the people of Orissa by declaring some new line survey by providing a very meagre amount,’ he said.

 

‘Out of 10 world class stations declared, not a single one was given to our state,’ he added.

 

‘The frequency and new trains proposed are to connect Mumbai-Howrah, Howrah-Chennai and stations like Guwahati,’ Oram said.

 

Said senior Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Pyarimohan Mohapatra: ‘The railways has been perennially neglecting Orissa. This year’s allocation is too little. The centre will realise if people of Orissa protest.’

 

But the opposition Congress maintained that there had been a substantial allocation to Orissa this year.

 

‘This year there has been a substantial hike in allocation,’ said Prasad Harichandan, the chief whip of the Congress party in the state assembly.

 

‘The allocation could be more had the Orissa government properly presented the state’s demand before the railway ministry,’ he said.

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