Accusing the Modi government of "abject failure" on railway safety, Congress today asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to tell the people, who is responsible for the deaths in railway accidents and cited his own speeches on accountability.
Accusing the Modi government of “abject failure” on railway safety, Congress today asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to tell the people, who is responsible for the deaths in railway accidents and cited his own speeches on accountability. “Modi ji has made many speeches about Accountability. Who is accountable for the increase in Railway Deaths, Modi ji? We demand that for all these accidents, we want to ask the Prime Minister, who is responsible & what action will be taken?,” Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar said.
“The Indian National Congress would like to ask the Modi Government as to who is accountable for this continuous loss of innocent lives. Is there a deliberate neglect of duties which is resulting in these mishaps? It is high time someone took responsibility for the present mess,” he said. The Congress spokesperson said the rail accident due to the derailment of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express is the third major train accident in the past two months, resulting in the death of 40 innocent lives and it is the fifth such accident in the past six months.
He said even as the probe report of previous Patna-bound Indore-Rajendranagar Express derailment that took place two months back in which at least 146 people lost their lives is awaited, the Government has been again caught unaware to deal with a similar accident in Andhra Pradesh. Congress also put out an article on its website entitled, “BJP has compromised Railways security, to meet its own PR goals” that said, “An image obsessed BJP Government has cultivated a host of Ministers who are more concerned with looking good rather than actually serving people.” The article also said, “The question to be asked is what compromises on safety are being made so that Shri Prabhu can meet his financial targets, and help in building the image of the Modi Government.”
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Kumar alleged that the Narendra Modi Government has “failed” on all fronts and the abject Railway Safety record is a good barometer of this Government’s record. “While changing the colours of the bedsheets, surge pricing and Wifi at stations could be cosmetic ideas, the Modi Government has miserably failed on the core issue of ensuring the safety and security of the crores of passengers who travel by train in the length and breadth of this country,” he said. “Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is quick to advertise the so called ‘Bullet Train’ which he is supposedly bringing to India since the last 32 months, but remains a mute spectator and maintains a stoic silence on the loss of lives due to abject negligence on the part of his Government.
“The irony of this entire debate is that instead of concentrating on the safety and security of crores of railway passengers, the Government is occupied in cosmetic surgeries,” he said. Kumar claimed derailments have increased since the advent of the Modi government. While in UPA’s final year the number stood at 53, the derailments now have increased to 68 in 2016-17, he claimed.
He claimed in 2015-16, the number of people who died due to Railway accidents stood at 36, while the number of deaths for 2016-17 has crossed 180. Modi government has been increasing all rates in Indian Railways, including death rate, he alleged, adding that the government is not “focusing on safety” in railways as a large number of jobs for ensuring safety are lying vacant.
Kumar said in 2011 a Committee on Railway Security presented a Report with 106 recommendations, of which the Modi government accepted only 68 and out of them too only 20 have been implemented. He said Rs 1 lakh crore was demanded by Railway Ministry from the Finance Minister for safety, but was given only 25 per cent and asked to raise the rest by increasing cess. The Congress leader also claimed that around 1.42 lakh safety staff have not been filled by Indian Railways under NDA.
“What happened to Modi ji’s promise on creating jobs? He is not able to fill all the vacancies in the Railways.
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“Modi government said there is a 12 pc in Railway Income. It forgets in 2012-13, under UPA. Railway Income rose by 19 pc Mr Modi will make people believe that only his Government is doing well. The numbers tell a different story,” he said. Kumar said the CAG had also indicted the Railway Ministry for the delay in sanctioning and completing repair works of tracks and old bridges, thus castigating style the functioning of the Ministry. The Railways was recently rapped by a Parliamentary panel for failing to establish the causes behind rising derailment cases in 2016, he said.
Congress leader Ahmed Patel also sought to target the Railways, who accused the government of ignoring suggestions for not cutting the allocation for Railway depreciation fund m meant for track and rolling stock. “Was it advisable for govt to cut down allocation to Railway Depreciation Fund by 60 pc? DRF is for for maintaining track and rolling stock. “For reasons best known to them, govt ignored our suggestion in last budget discussion that cut in DRF could jeopardise rail safety,” he tweeted.