Most State demands ignored in Rail budget, says Gogoi

BY Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, Feb 26: A day after Railway minister Suresh Prabhu presented his ministry's annual budget, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today alleged that most of the demands made by the State government were ignored in the Rail budget.

"I had written five letters to the Prime Minister and Railway minister since 2014 stating various demands of the State. Some of our demands have been met, but most have been ignored," Gogoi said, reacting to Prabhu's budget.

Gogoi also asked State BJP president and Union minister Sarbanda Sonowal to make public what proposals he had sent on behalf of the State for inclusion in the Railway budget.

"Sarbanda Sonowal has been med the BJP's chief ministerial candidate for Assam assembly elections. It is his duty to place the demands of the people before the Union government and extract maximum benefits for the State by virtue of being a minister himself," Gogoi said, adding that he might file an RTI with the Railway ministry, if needed, to get the details.

Gogoi said demands made by the State government for a coach maintence facility at Agiathuri station, double tracking in western Assam and electrification up to Guwahati have been met in the Rail budget.

But, he said, other demands like a coach factory in the State, an additiol rail bridge near Saraighat bridge, long distance trains with limited stoppages, more trains for the State and creation of a separate railway zone for Northeast were ignored by the Railway ministry.

Accusing the BJP leaders of failing to understand the consequences of scrapping the special category status of the State, Gogoi wondered whether the Central government, by withdrawing the special status enjoyed by the State, has in a way accepted that development has taken place in Assam.

"Else, why would they withdraw the special status?" the CM asked.

However, the Chief Minister maintained that the State was still lagging behind and backward and needed support to catch up with the developed states.

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