New Delhi, Feb 25: The Opposition today described Mamata Banerjee's Rail Budget as "jugglery" of accounts, saying the finances and performance of the department were in a "mess" and the exercise would push the Railways into bankruptcy.
The two major opposition parties - BJP and CPI(M) - used similar adjectives to take the Railway Minister to task for presenting a budget which was a "fraudulent exercise" that was "symptomatic of the dismal state of this government".
The BJP said the Rail Budget's "larger approach is to do nothing. It has run out of ideas. The Railways' finances and performance are in a mess ... There appears to be a jugglery of accounts in order to ensure that a profit is projected".
The CPI(M) Politburo said it was "a fraudulent exercise aimed at window dressing the pathetic state of railway finances and announcing sundry projects, which will never take off the ground. The Railways are actually facing a financial crisis".
The figures clearly showed that Railways' "own resources are going to deteriorate further even as it draws more resources from the general budget and increase its indebtedness, ruining its financial health further in the long-term", the Left party said.
"Announcements of projects without any specific plan outlay or time schedule amounts to a farce. The Budget is replete with such farcical announcements at the cost of the credibility of an institution like the Indian Railways".
The Congress, however, hailed the Budget saying it shows "concern and sensitivity" towards the common man and expressed happiness over no hike in fares.
Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari said, "The most significant aspect of the budget is that she (Mamata Banerjee) has not increased any fare. She has shown her great concern and sensitivity towards the needs of the common man to which the UPA government is totally committed."
He also congratulated the Railway Minister for her "frank" admission of the challenges before the Ministry due to implementation of Pay Commission recommendations and the assertion that the Railways have come out of its difficulties and is on development path.
CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury termed the Budget as an "exercise in deceit" and accused Banerjee of playing tricks with figures and "cunningly juggling statistics" figures to show improved financial position of the PSU behemoth.
"Railways have paid Rs 1,700 crore less as dividend" and has, therefore, been able to show an improved operating ratio, he said.
BJP General Secretary Ananth Kumar said the Budget was "like an election manifesto. The entire focus is on West Bengal, and the rest of India has been totally neglected".
CPI National Secretary D Raja said despite certain populist announcements, the Budget does not have anything spectacular. "It seems to be more ambitious than reality. Nobody is happy with the Budget. She has not announced any provisions for ongoing projects".
P Karunakaran, CPI(M) Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha, said the projection in the Budget is that many of the projects would be implemented in PPP mode.
"Day by day, budget by budget, such huge railway projects are being given to private parties. We oppose it, given the very public nature of Indian Railways." PTI