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Goyal flays Ashok Gehlot for ‘withdrawing’ from rail projects
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Goyal flays Ashok Gehlot for ‘withdrawing’ from rail projects

Agency News

New Delhi, Jul 10: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday made a veiled attack on Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot for writing to him stating that the state government will not be able to cooperate on railway projects anymore and will also withdraw from the older ones it has committed earlier.

Mr Goyal made the observation during Question Hour and maintained that it is high time the elected members from Lok Sabha should take up the matter "in Jaipur" to help expedite completion of railway projects at the earliest in the western state. Railway Minister made his observation after BJP MP Divya Kumari representing from Rajsamand parliamentary constituency wanted to know from the government on whether the government is considering to launch any new railway project to cater to the increasing passenger footfall and to connect the areas not covered so far under rail network.

As soon as the Minister made his remarks, the BJP lawmaker turned towards Congress bench and said "hopefully" the party in power in the state will look into the matter. Answering supplementary queries from another BJP MP Ravi Kishan, the Railway Minister said it is a pattern on the part of MPs to raise constituency related issues vis-a-vis railway projects and pointed out unlike the past the Railway Ministry is now keen to announce projects simply for the name sake.

Railway Minister said till 2014, the railway infrastructure works did not get adequate attention and there was only 30 per cent of works to improve the infrastructures since Independence.

In contrast, he said in freight and passenger traffic, the increase has been a staggeringly high 1300 to 1500 per cent and therefore the pressure was inherent. "That way, all the requests from the members for additional trains, new stoppage demand cannot be entertained," he said.

BJP lawmaker from Gorakhpur and actor-turned-politician Ravi Kishan wanted the government to respond whether adequate steps will be taken to increase the number of trains and compartments plying to and fro Gorakhpur.

In response to questions, Mr Goyal said in the past there has been a tendency to announce projects and not provide funds and execute works per se. His response on these lines came to supplementary questions from DMK floor leader T R Baalu and Janata Dal (United) MP Mahabali Singh. The JD(U) member representing Karakat parliamentary constituency in Bihar referred to the Dehri-Dalmia Nagar railway factory project and said it is pending since 2007.

"People of Bihar have high expectations from the Narendra Modi government and therefore out of 40 seats, the state has returned as many as 39 in NDA kitty," the lawmaker sought to remind the government.

Minister of State for Railways Suresh Channabasappa told the member that the government is very much sensitive to the matter and has already commenced work on the same. (UNI)