New Delhi: The first day of the discussion on the Railway Budget saw the opposition alleging mismanaging of Railway accounts in the first term of the Congress led UPA government. Mint story on 6 June, that the national transporter may be in a worse situation than it let on because of heavy withdrawals from its fund reserves banked with the Reserve Bank., was quoted in both houses by the opposition during the debate.
Initiating the debate in the Lok Sabha, BJP leader Ananth Kumar demanded that a white paper on the railways be placed within 60 days and preferably on the first day of the winter session.
Either figures have been fudged, or there are some jugglery in accounts. There has to be some valid reason for the depletion in the fund,Ananth Kumar told reporters in a press conference later.
Mint had reported on 6 July that the railways accumulated fund balances were expected to go down to Rs8,361 Crore in 2009-10, a third of what it was in 2007-8. Appropriations to the various funds the national transporter maintains were down, while withdrawals increased in the last year of Lalu Prasad tenure and were expected to stay the same way in the first year of Banerjee’s ministership.
The new railway minister’s target seems to be very clear. We are about to witness a railway scam after the fodder scam, Kumar added.
Raising the same issue at the Rajya Sabha, BJP’s Arun Jaitley, the leader of the opposition in the upper house, said there has been a jugglery in the maintenance of Railway accounts.
The former railway minister Lalu Prasad compared the Indian railways to a jersey cow, which has not been milked enough. The situation now and the reports suggest that the railways have now been milked enough,Jaitley said in his speech.
As though this was not enough, the Mint newspaper, dated 06-07-09, has reported that the railway minister’s speech was changed in the last minute. The original text was put on the website and then hurriedly withdrawn and replaced with a corrected text, Jaitley said.