Rail Budget may cater to TMC’s N-E aspirations

New Delhi: The seven north-eastern states, which hold the key for Trinamool Congress to emerge as a national party, could be bestowed with a slew of new rail projects in the upcoming Rail Budget.

The Railway portfolio, which falls in its kitty, will be utilised by the party to make inroads in these states, where it has already made some gains by opening its account in the Arunachal Pradesh assembly and is eyeing the forthcoming Tripura polls.

TMC leader Dinesh Trivedi had visited Nagaland, his first state visit, after becoming Railway Minister.

Trivedi is expected to make a special mention of the need for improving connectivity in North-East with the announcement a few trains and new rail line in the region as “socially and economically desirable.”

Presenting the Rail Budget last year, the then Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced measures to connect the seven capitals of N-E region to the rail network, on which Trivedi is expected to propose steps to expedite the mission.

TMC, the regional party aiming to have the status of a national party, got a boost after winning seven seats in Manipur assembly in the recently-held elections. Earlier, TMC had won five seats from Arunachal Pradesh. Much attention is also likely to be placed on the states in the other parts of the country where Railway Minister had visited to gauge the aspirations of the people.

Buoyed with the success in two N-E states, Trinamool is all set to contest in Tripura assembly elections next year. “Tripura assembly election is crucial for TMC as winning from here will enable the West Bengal-based party to attain the national party status,” sources in TMC said.

The Rail Budget is likely to adequately cater to the TMC aspirations and Trivedi is expected to keep this in mind while finalising his plan of action for the next fiscal.

There are more than 100 rail projects stagnating for years for lack of adequate funds. Though these projects are slated to be “economically not viable” these are “socially desirable” as stated by Trivedi earlier.

Beautification of stations, new lines and trains among others are likley to be announced for N-E region in the Rail Budget.

Given the financial condition of railways, Trivedi’s first Rail Budget is also likley to seek a two-year moratorium on paying dividend to the government. (PTI)

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