Our Bureau

Kochi, Feb. 27

VARIOUS chambers of commerce and industry in Kerala have expressed their displeasure over the Railway Budget 2005, saying that it had not given due consideration to the genuine long-pending needs of the State.

The President of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr K.S. Sabu, said it is disappointing that not a single new train is seen included for Kerala in the list of 46 new trains and there is no proposal to meet the State's strong demand for a Railway zone.

The mere extension of three trains, as if a consolation, will in no way help meet the heavy passenger traffic originating from Kerala to destinations such as Bangalore, Kutch etc., he said.

However, the proposals for public-private partnership initiatives to provide enhanced facilities for users, setting up of integrated warehouse complexes, allocation of funds for electrification/doubling of lines in Kerala, improved Internet booking, the proposed concrete sleeper plant at Palakkad etc. are welcome features of the budget, he added.

Mr C.P. Jain, President of the Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the Railway Minister has totally neglected the State and has not even considered the proposal to reduce the upper-class fare charges based on the fall in the rates of air fare. Mr Jain urged the State Government and Parliament members from the State to strongly protest against the discrimination.

However, he said that the proposal for a Railway Land Development Authority would help timely completion of railway projects and the introduction of double-decker service would boost the container movement in the country.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 28, 2005)
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