Suresh Prabhu’s railway budget was like one of those movies where you are patiently waiting thinking ” Something will happen now, something will happen now ” and then suddenly you realise that the movie is over. Suresh Prabhu spoke relentlessly for one and half hours, but told the parliament and the people precisely nothing. Like a politician in a pre-election rally, he gave a good count of his intent to do lots of things, but never bothered to say anything about how he is going to do. To people who still do not know, what happened with the budget –well it contained nothing. No new trains, no new tracks, no announcements and nothing at all. This was first of its kind in the country, though.
Some “wise people” say that he was realistic and hence did not want to promise much. “Have not we seen many railway ministers who promised a lot and delivered little?” they reasoned. Good god !! May I respond saying that the railway minister has a responsibility to not just promise but deliver as well. Do we really need a railway minister who does not promise anything simply because he sees no way on delivering those? Then what is a railway minister for and what is this exercise called a budget all about ? It would have been better, if the railway minister told us that he was not presenting a budget, but just a vision statement for the railways.
Now coming to what the railway budget did for AP, we can only pull out our wishlist and put a cross mark on that.
Some people feel that Suresh Prabhu did a good thing by not announcing new projects. Rather than announcing new projects, he should complete old ones. This is a good argument.
But when I take the list of ongoing AP projects and see the allocations, except for the Yerraguntla -Nandyal line, which is expected to finish during the coming financial year, no other project has received enough allocations. See the table below.
- For Kambum – Proddatur line against an estimate of 829 crs, only 10 lacs has been allotted.
- For the all-important Nadikudi – Sri kalahasti line, which is supposed to give connectivity the the most backwards ares in Nellore and Prakasam districts, 110 crs has been estimated and by this pace, the project will take another 10 years. ( probably 20 yrs because of cost escalations)