Mamata Bannerjee’s Rail Budget for 2011-12 has undobtedly put no burden on Aam Aadmi for the third consecutive year by not hiking passengers’ fares and freight rates. But she made no mention what about the budget proposals she had introdued last year . Many of the last year's rail budget proposal remain untouched and swept under the carpet of Rail Bhavan.
For the third successive year, the Railway Budget for 2011-12 spared the passengers of any increase in fares and proposed no hike in freight rates while introducing 56 new trains, including nine non-stop Duronto trains and three Shatabdis. Presenting her third budget in UPA-II in the Lok Sabha, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee announced a slew of concessions including reducing the eligibility age of senior women citizens from 60 to 58 years and the fare concession for men above 60 from 30 to 40 per cent.Apparently with an eye on the coming assembly polls in West Bengal, where she is projected as the Chief Minister candidate of Congress-Trinamool combine, she came out with a number of projects for the state, including a metro coach factory in Singur, Rail Industrial Park in Jelligham, an integrated suburban network for Kolkata and 34 new services for the Kolkata metro.
Her announcements for the state evoked protests from members including those from Bihar, UP and Kerala, but she appealed to them to be patient for her other announcements.
Mamata's Rail Budget 2011-12 also reflects that it is based on the move that could take her to Writers’ Building after the West Bengal Assembly elections.There is no doubt that she is very much concerned about the plight of common men . And that is why she is the number one political enemy of the ruling CPI(M) in West Bengal. She has the political will to unseat the Left in WB from power.
As the West Bengal Assembly Elections are going to be held this year, she has shown enough magnamity towards Bengal in her rail budget as it has been the most beneficial state during railways ministership. It is another matter that she has stronghold in West Bengal and her political outfit Trinamool Congress has political potential under her leadership to bring down the fort of the Left but as railway minister she represents the entire nation and as such she should have taken concerns of other states equally in rail budget proposals. Her Rail Budget 2011-12 is entirely focussed on West Bengal.
It is also true that West Bengal apart from being her home state, she has also political necessity there this year to take extra care of the state. But at the same time, politics must not be played with government of India property in which every state has equal stake.Although considering the shape and size of the country, the rail is doing commendable job by connecting each other and giving the nation a united face under all circumstances. That why its security must be taken uppermost. Indian rail is the carrier of about 2 crore people every day on an average. So the safety and security of its passengers must be given top priority, which no rail budget in recent years has shown sincerity and seriousness about safety measures for the passengers.