New Delhi: In a rather harsh use of words, Kerala lawmaker P K Kunhalikutty of the Indian Union of the Muslim League has maintained that Air India has lost its relevance in the last two years under the Modi government and also that Indian Railways is "waiting for its mercy killing".
"When we travel by Air India, we all think as to how many days our Air India will be there. In this way, a general impression is there. The Railways also is going to be privatized. It is waiting for its mercy killing," the lawmaker from Malappuram parliamentary constituency said here on Thursday while participating in Lok Sabha on the Demands for Grants for Railway Ministry.
Several other members including from the Congress have expressed concern about what they said the government's move to push the policy of privatization and corporatization.
He also said: "One can very well understand as to what has happened to Air India within a couple of years".
The Congress floor leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has noted during Thursday debate that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had himself stated in Varanasi that railways will not be privatized but the Budget 2019-20 makes a clear case for pushing the public-private partnership norms and for corporatization and disinvestment.
However, BJP MP Gopal Shetty said the PPP model is the only solution and would lead the country to progress.
Debate on demands for grants under the Ministry of Railways continued till midnight in Lok Sabha on Thursday with most of the members pressing demands of their respective parliamentary constituencies.
Trinamool Congress floor leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay has said - "...Indian Railways is moving towards privatization, that is what this Budget indicates. Being the Chairman of the Railway Standing Committee, I feel that it is not the proper etiquette to speak on the Budget because I know much of the information from my meetings with railway board chairperson(s)".
Among others BJP MP Sangeeta Kumari Singh Deo representing Bolangir in Odisha said: " It is only in the Narendra Modi era that the Government has started seriously fulfilling its obligations as a welfare state by protecting and promoting the socio-economic well-being of our citizens...The Railway Budget is totally in sync with the New India vision".
Railways Minister Piyush Goyal is likely to reply to the debate on Friday.