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Last Updated : Jul 11, 2019 02:29 PM IST | Source: PTI

Govt trying to sell railways assets through PPPs, privatisation: Congress

Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said in the Lok Sabha that the aviation minister wants to sell Air India, the railways minister wants to "sell" its assets and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he alleged, will one day "sell" country.

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Representational Image

Slamming the Modi government over its handling of the Railways Ministry, the Congress on Wednesday accused it of trying to sell out railway assets and said the BJP-led NDA is "selling dreams" to people without doing much on the ground.

Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said in the Lok Sabha that the aviation minister wants to sell Air India, the railways minister wants to "sell" its assets and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he alleged, will one day "sell" country.

Initiating a debate on demands for grants under the Ministry of Railways, Chowdhury said the BJP-led NDA government has consistently failed to meet its targets since it came to power in 2014.

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Taking a dig at the government, he said in the budget it has spoken about spending Rs 50 lakh crore on railways in the coming years and wondered what happened to incumbent minister Piyush Goyal's predecessor Suresh Prabhu's claim that Rs 8.5 lakh crore will be spent.

"What happened to Prabhu's claim? Now you have added Rs 50 lakh crore more? It is clear you intend to sell its assets," Chowdhury said.

Mocking the government's claim on investment in railways, he said it is like seeking a tent to sleep when there is not even a mat.

The railways' operating ratio was 98.4 per cent in 2017- 18, way above the government's estimate, the Congress leader said, adding its revenue and expenditure also fell short of official claims.

"But you do not stop selling dreams," he said.

Referring to the earlier claims about collaboration with private and foreign players, he said nothing much has happened on these fronts.

"It has become a government of MoUs," he said.

He accused the government of privatising profit-making production units of railways, including the one in Rae Bareli, the Lok Sabha constituency of Congress leader Sonia Gandhi. Railways is a social commitment and not just a commercial establishment, Chowdhury said and wondered how is it possible for the government to see the dream of bullet trains if the Congress had not done anything.

He also urged the government to be clear about its intentions and policies. Taking a swipe at the ruling regime, he also said everything is being named after Modi and no one is talking about NDA.
First Published on Jul 11, 2019 02:22 pm
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