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Narrow gauge for state Freight tariff hike teaser

The budget of railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal disappointed the business fraternity and the common man in the city.

Venting the opinion of the state’s business community, Bihar Chamber of Commerce president P.K. Agarwal, said: “No importance has been given to the ongoing railway projects in Bihar. Projects like the greenfield electric locomotive manufacturing unit at Madhepura, wagon workshop at Garhara, workshop at Jamalpur, Kosi bridge, coach factory at Dalmianagar and many others will not be completed in the near future.”

Agarwal added: “All ongoing projects may be kept in abeyance or will be shelved because of funds paucity. If this happens, it will be great misfortune for Bihar. It will establish the step-motherly attitude of the Centre towards Bihar.”

Indian Chamber of Commerce director-general Rajeev Singh said the revised freight rates of the budget would adversely affect the core sector growth. “ICC feels that upward revision of freight charges by 5 to 6 per cent will augment the operating costs of the core sector companies in coal, power and infrastructure domain,” said Singh.

Bihar Industries Association president KPS Keshri also sounded unhappy with the railway budget. “Increase in freight charges and Tatkal tickets will increase the burden on passengers and common people. Trade will be badly affected. Hardly a few new trains have been given to Bihar, whereas we held expectations for much more.”

The manufacturing units, too, seemed displeased with the railway budget.

Reacting to the rise in the railway freight fares, Mohammad Sajid Khan, who runs a private construction company, said: “Our tools and equipment come as railway cargo. Now that the freight charges have been increased, our business will be adversely affected. The cost of transportation will increase by 7 to 10 per cent. The budget is not friendly for businessmen.”

Vijay Pandey, a resident of Anisabad, said: “It has become the Centre’s habit to ignore Bihar in every railway budget. I was hoping that the railway ministry would give a Duronto train for Delhi. In the name of providing amenities and facilities to passengers, the railway has cheated the people of Bihar.”

Abhilasha Priyadarshi, a homemaker of Anandpuri, said: “The budget has given more emphasis on technology and amenities but it has failed to address basic issues like safety of women on running trains.”

Recently, a Bengal woman jumped off a running train between Ara and Karisath stations after a co-passenger tried to molest her near the toilet of the AC three-tier coach she was travelling in.