Friday, March 4, 2011

CPM plans privilege motion over Mamata's Rly Budget 'lies'

Ahead of the West Bengal assembly elections, railway minister Mamata Banerjeemay face a privilege motion in Parliament.

A Rajya Sabha member has accused her of misleading the House while presenting theRailway Budget for 2011- 12 .

The CPM is likely to approach Parliament's privileges committee as it claims the minister quoted " fraudulent numbers" while making claims about target achievement.

Participating in the discussions on the railway Budget in the Upper House, CPM member P. Rajeeve said Banerjee had used " fraudulent" figures in at least four instances.

He urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to check the claims made in the Budget and suggested that the standing committee on railways should also verify her claims.

Using the mid- term review of the finance ministry, Rajeeve, who represents Kerala in the House, countered Mamata's budgetary claim that 700 km of new lines have already been laid.

"According to the mid- term review, only 59 km of new lines had been laid till September 2010. I request the minister to table in the House the details of the new lines laid to prove how she achieved the herculean figure of 641 km of new lines in less than six months," he said.

The Left MP also challenged Mamata's claims on electrification, doubling and gauge conversion, using the finance ministry's statistics.

Rajeeve said the CPM was considering the possibility of moving a privilege motion against the minister. " Tabling such fraudulent figures is a fit case for breach of privilege. The minister has misled the country and Parliament.

We will see how a privilege motion could be moved against her," he added.

The MP also challenged the total passenger earning figures quoted in the explanatory memorandum of the railway Budget.

"On page 15 of the explanatory memorandum, it is stated that both the revised estimates for traffic receipts and the Budget figures are Rs 26,126.47 crore. I want to congratulate the railway minister for her ability to predict accurately the volume of passengers who use the Indian railways and their travel plans so as to determine the exact amount that could be incurred under that head of accounts," he said.

Rajeeve said the minister told Parliament that the loading target was decreased by 20 million tonnes. " It is admirable that the minister was still able to ensure that receipts of Rs 62,489.33 crore could be achieved under goods earnings, which was the exact figure budgeted for 2010- 11, as is indicated in the explanatory memorandum under the revised estimates for traffic receipts," he said.

The target set in the previous Budget for installing optic fibre structures was not yet accomplished, he added.

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