Lok Sabha

March 11, 2015

A complete overhaul of railways is needed: Ratna De Nag |Transcript

A complete overhaul of railways is needed: Ratna De Nag |Transcript

Full transcript:

Deputy Speaker Sir, I would like to start with a word of appreciation to the Railway Minister for not hiking the fares.

However that BJP Government after taking over the reins of the Government, BJP led NDA Government increased the burden on the common people by raising the passenger fares and there is no surety that they would not hike the fares of the passengers in time.

Ours is a vast railway network. In 1947, we had railway network of nearly 50,000 km, whereas China had 27,000 km. Now China has about 1,10,000 kms whereas India has only 65,000 kms of railway network. We have to make great strides, if we have to cater to the ever growing population of India.

No new trains have been announced. At least the Railway Minister should have come with the projects that he is planning to complete during the year. By doing so, it seems that he himself is apprehensive about the capabilities of the Railways in executing the pending projects.

Sir, the Government is focusing on infrastructure. It may be of some help in the long run.

The matters of prime importance are safety of women and safety of passengers on train. As per an estimate, more than 2000 persons died in nearly 800 railway accidents in the past year.

There is no indication of customer friendly approach i.e. putting the passenger first. The focus should be on ensuring safety and accessibility to the amenities of railways by opening up more and more railway reservation offices and more counters should be opened in existing railways booking centres. Let us hope, that some passenger related amenities will be included in Vision Document 2030, which he intends bring out in near future.

I think the cleanliness drive should start from the Railways as crores of people use railways every day. But there is no cleanliness. I doubt, whether Minister’s expansion programme will go in the right directs with so many problems in it.

There is a need to reduce fare of the tatkal charges and cancellation charges too, should be reduced considerably. More companies of women RPF personnel and another eight companies should be formed with a view to strengthen the security of women passengers.

Effort should be ensured that freedom fighters are taken care of. When they approach the Railway authorities, they should be helped, going out of the way.

Number of sleeper classes in the train should be increased considerably as common man travels in this category, to be precise, 90% of the people travel in this category. More and more toilets, waiting room and benches, both in major stations and small stations should be constructed for the convenience of the railway passengers.

The Railway Minister vowed to give birth to the railway network in four years. Only time will tell about this exalted wish or claim.

There has been a hike by 10% on freight. I am in the opinion that this freight hike would have repercussions on prices of essential commodities. Another plan for elimination 3,438 level crossings in a financial year is a welcome measure, but is it attainable? Is Rs 6581 Crore sanctioned for the same, enough?

Sir, West Bengal has been neglected in this Budget. I would like to draw attention of the Hon’ble Minister regarding the Dankuni factory, which produces parts of the Railway electric engines. This is located on the Howrah – Bardhaman cord in Hooghly district which is my district. This will go a long way in catering to the needs of the Railways in and around areas.

Unfortunately, Rs 265.95 Crore what was only sanctioned for 2013-14, but till March 2014 only Rs 188.02 Crore has been spent. In 2014-15 Railway Budget only Rs 33.92 Crore was allocated. In 2015-16 Budget a meagre sum of Rs 2.51 Crore is allocated. This defies logic.

How can we complete this project with such a meagre allocation and that too in a piecemeal method?

In the last budget a sum of Rs 184.70 Crore was sanctioned for coach rehabilitation factory in Anara but till March 2014 only Rs 8.29 Crore has been spent. Now in the current Railway Budget very little fund has been sanctioned. I strongly urge the Railway Minister to allocate more funds and utilise the sanctioned fund.

I will request the Hon’ble Minister, to give utmost importance and priority to the pending projects in West Bengal and ensure its completion as early as possible.

There is a need for executing better delivery mechanism. It is a herculean task for putting Railways on the track. There is a need to improve the sleeper class coaches in the trains. There rakes given to the passengers of sleeper classes and second AC and third AC, should be covered properly.

There is an urgent necessity to increase the speed of the train wherever necessary, as it will not only reduce the journey time but also save the energy.

Hygiene in the trains and in the railway stations needs special and constant attention. Pantry served food item are of lower grade and served in mostly unhygienic condition. This needs immediate attention.

A complete overhaul of railways, in every sense of the word is needed.