Expressing concern over a series of rail mishaps in the recent past allegedly due to outside interference, the Railways today said it was becoming a soft target. “I feel that Railways is the most soft target. I do not have any problem in accepting it,” Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha said at the sidelines of a function here. He, however, hastened to add that although law and order is a state subject, the Centre was making all out efforts to prevent terror-related activities.
“Law and order is subject of state governments in this country. Indian government, however, has been taking efforts to check terrorist activities,” he said. Sinha said the Railway protection force has limited resources and steps were being taken to upgrade their skill to handle such cases.
“The indication we are getting from the recent 3-4 incidents is a matter of concern for us. Railways has special force but they have limited resources. We want to make training arrangements for them so that they can handle such incident. We are in discussion with the Home Ministry to check such incidents,” he said. Referring to the recent arrest of persons accused of sabotage, the MoS said, “Police had arrested some people and they had admitted that for every blast, they get Rs 3 lakhs. Intelligence Bureau and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) are also investigating the matter.
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“The Railway Ministry has requested CBI to look into the matter. The Home Ministry is also on board. Overall, this government has taken serious measures against terrorism. If they are targeting Railways now, the government is capable of finishing and checking terrorism,” he asserted.
Thirty-nine people were killed after nine coaches of the Hirakhand Express derailed near Kuneru station in Andhra Pradesh on January 21.
On November 20 last year, 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express had derailed near Kanpur killing 151 people followed by the derailment of the Sealdah-Ajmer Express on December 28 near Rura station that left more than 50 passengers injured.
Asked about the proposed fencing of tracks, Sinha said, “The kind of tracks we have, any animal or person can come on it, so their is a requirement for fencing. That is why it took some time to start the Gatimaan Express. So wherever there were high chances (of such indicent), fencing was done.”
The minister added that Railways had identified a few routes for running trains on high speed. “Railway has identified 7-8 sectors for high-speed train service. The aim is to cover Delhi to Kolkata in 12 hours. The work is in advance stage,” Sinha said.