Sops for Andhra, especially Telangana, in rail budget

Hyderabad, Feb 24 (Calcutta Tube) The ruling Congress party in Andhra Pradesh Wednesday welcomed Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee’s budget that offered many sops to the state and gave special attention to the Telangana region.

For the first time in recent years, the state did not get a raw deal with the 2010-11 budget offering a railway wagon factory, a sports academy, 22 new railway lines and 14 new trains.

The wagon factory and sports academy will come up in Secunderabad, the twin city of Hyderabad. The new trains include Secunderabad-Mumbai, Hyderabad-Ajmer, Madurai-Hyderabad-Pune, Secunderabad-Tirupati and five other trains from Tirupati to Secunderabad, Coimbatore, Madurai, Kanchi and Goa.

A special MMTS train will be operated between Falaknuma and Lingampally stations in Hyderabad. The running of two long-distance trains has also been extended.

Telangana, which is witnessing a mass movement for statehood, got special attention in the railway budget, with the region accounting for more than half of the proposed railway lines for the state.

Four of the 22 new railway lines will be laid with assistance from the state government.

Congress MP Ponnam Prabhakar said it was a welcome railway budget. He claimed that due to sustained lobbying by MPs, Banerjee agreed to sanction several new trains and railway lines for the state.

The opposition, however, criticised the budget. Leader of opposition and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu said the minister had disappointed people of the state. He said the allocation for the state was not sufficient to complete pending projects.

Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) leader and former legislator Harish Rao said for the first time since the formation of Andhra Pradesh, so many new railway lines were sanctioned for the Telangana region.

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