March 8, 2016
Tapas Mandal speaks on Railway Budget 2016
I am thankful to you for allowing me to speak on the Railway Budget and I am also thankful to my leader Ms. Mamata Banerjee. She was the Railway Minister for two times in the Union Cabinet and she did a wonderful job. After her departure from the Ministry, it remained vacant. She glorified the Ministry. She was the ornament of that Ministry. Right now, when we are looking at the Ministry, nobody is there who is really fighting for the common people of this country. Suresh Prabhu Ji, I think, has some management background. He has that kind of outlook and he has got nobody to satisfy. He pleased some sections of this country, including Maharashtra. The Government is all the time talking that it is looking towards eastern India but his Railway Budget has not reflected that.
West Bengal is deprived of getting anything from the Railway Budget 2016-17. Nothing has been given to the State of West Bengal. That is why, as an initial repercussion, our hon. Chief Minister told the media that it was a big zero. That was the first expression to the media. The Railway Minister announced a lot of things and unlike other Ministers, if we look towards the Budget Speech of the former Railway Ministers, all of them usually used to announce a lot of new trains and the survey of new lines, Suresh Prabhu Ji has set a new trend by not announcing any new train. I think this is a good step. What he has started may be helpful for the future of this country but right now, we are the elected Members of Parliament and we have some expectations. People have some expectations from us. By this way, we cannot please our constituency people. This is our compulsion. I request the hon. Railway Minister to look into the matter and when you go for presenting your next Budget, at least do something so that we can tell our people that Suresh Prabhu Ji has done a good thing.
Most of the times, you are talking about the cleanliness of the railway stations and trains. Most of the times, the railway stations, including town stations, urban stations, semi-urban stations and village stations, are very much ugly. The toilets and the urinals are very dirty.
Nobody can go there. These are fully neglected. People are not working there. So, when you are talking and giving more emphasis on cleanliness of the station, please ensure that the toilets, washrooms of the stations, be cleaned.
The bed-rolls, particularly, served for the higher classes of different express trains are not washed regularly or rather, I should say, not even washed. You give some instructions so that cleaned and washed bed-rolls should be provided to passengers because this is their legitimate demand.
The welcome decision is that there is no price-hike in this Budget. I welcome this decision. Then, announcement of Wi-Fi connection at 100 stations and in the coming years it would be increased to 400 stations is a very good decision and that can fulfill the aspirations of the youth of this country. There are a lot of poor passengers who really need the help of the Ministry. So, by announcing Deen Dayal coaches, you can cater to the needs of the everincreasing demand of the poor sections of our community. In the tropical areas, particularly in the southern part of our country, the railway stations do not have water freezers. It is a long pending demand of the passengers. So, please ensure to install water freezers at each and every station. This is the minimum requirement of the passengers.
The Railways has a bad reputation of running the trains late. This is also a very important aspect. Please look into this matter so that the trains can run on time. People say that the staff members of the Railways are discourteous. Their behaviour is not passenger-friendly.
So, the staff members of the Railways need to be trained and they should be provided with some other facilities so that in future, in due course of time, they can behave friendly with passengers and other people.
Now, if we look back to our State, West Bengal, what have you done? What have you given? You have given nothing except 12 road-over-bridges, one doubling of the existing rail line, a new metro route in Kolkata and two freight corridors from Kharagpur. I am happy that you have given two road-over-bridges in my constituency, one is Simurali-Chakdaha and another is Birnagar-Badkulla. So, I am very much thankful to you.
But I have some other compulsions. Mr. Minister, many a time, I wrote letters to you regarding my constituency problems but even after a long period of two years, I did not get anything or any action from your end. First of all, what I mentioned was that the Ministry should take up the Ranaghat sub-way, and right now the sub-way is almost completed and that is made only for the use of pedestrians.
But the legitimate demand of the people of this town is to make this motorable because Rangaghat town is divided into two halves by the railway station and the railway lines. In the eastern part, there are no facilities.
In the western part of the city, hospitals, nursing homes, post office, college, banks—everything is there. So, when people are coming from the eastern part to western part for taking treatment, they are not coming easily because almost all the time the railway gate is being closed. That is why, there is a legitimate demand to make this sub-way motorable. You assured me verbally but still this work is pending. I request, through you, Sir, that before the completion of the subway, please make the sub-way motorable so that at least the small ambulances can come from the eastern side to the western side.
There are a number of unmanned level crossings in my Constituency. There are a number of railway stations at Bahirgachi. There is another important unmanned level crossing between Ranaghat and Coupers Halt. So, these need to be looked into so that the people will not be in danger.
You are talking about safety, security, etc., of the railways. So, there are a number of unmanned rail crossings under my constituency.
Please look into the matter and announce something in the next budget. The Union Government established an AIIMS at Kalyani. It is 50 kilometres away from Kolkata. It needs to be connected through metro stations because there is AIIMS, there is IISER and there are a number of institutes. So, a new metro route from Barrackpur to Kalyani is required. This was surveyed by the earlier Government. You do something so that this viable project can be completed in course of time.
Ghugia is another proposed halt station between Payradanga and Chakdaha. It is also a long pending demand. The former Minister inaugurated that station but still the work is not being done. It was just an announcement. I request the hon. Minister to start the work on Ghugia halt.
Then, a huge problem is being faced by daily passengers. The former Minister took a decision to increase the compartment numbers from nine to 12, which is still pending. Most of the stations are completed and can accommodate 12 compartments. But still the number of compartments in trains has not been increased. I request you to increase the same so that the increasing number of passengers can safely travel in them.
There is a huge rush during office hours. Millions of people travel during office hours in Sealdah-Bongaon section and Sealdah- Ranaghat section. I request you to increase the number of passenger trains so that the ever-increasing number of office goers can travel through them and get satisfied by your announcement of new trains in peak hours.
The two important stations – Nabadwip Dham and Shantipur Dham to Vaishnav Dham temple – fall under my constituency. I request you to announce them as heritage stations because millions of pilgrims go there and attend the festivals. I request you to extend more facilities to these stations.
With this, I conclude.