Railways facing neglect: Mamata Banerjee

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed grief over the loss of lives  in the derailment of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express and alleged the Railways is now neglected and given less priority with curtailment in the Budget.

Mamata Banerjee, who had previously served as the Rail Minister, took to Twitter hours after the derailment. She wrote: “Railways carries crores of people every day. It is the lifeline of the nation. We are proud of our Indian Railways employees. However, now Railways is neglected & being given less priority. The Budget is being curtailed. Safety and security are being compromised.”

“We don’t blame the minister, he is earnest in his efforts. But govt needs to address issues urgently,” the CM said in another tweet.

Mamata Banerjee also offered condolences to the family of the deceased.


রেলকে কম গুরুত্ব দিচ্ছে কেন্দ্রীয় সরকারঃ মমতা বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়

শনিবার রাতে হীরাখণ্ড এক্সপ্রেস লাইনচ্যুত হওয়ার ঘটনায় শোক প্রকাশ করেন মুখ্যমন্ত্রী মমতা বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়। রেলকে কম গুরুত্ব দেওয়া হচ্ছে বলে অভিযোগ করেন মুখ্যমন্ত্রী।

টুইটারে মুখ্যমন্ত্রী জানান, “ভারতীয় রেল দৈনিক কয়েক কোটি যাত্রী বহন করে। এটাই দেশের জীবনরেখা। আমরা ভারতীয় রেলের কর্মচারীর কাজে গর্বিত। অথচ রেল বিভাগ অবহেলার শিকার। রেলকে খুব কম গুরুত্ব দেওয়া হচ্ছে। রেলের জন্য বাজেট কমানো হচ্ছে। যাত্রীদের সুরকশা ও স্বাচ্ছন্দ্যের সঙ্গে আপস করা হচ্ছে। আজকের দুর্ঘটনায় আমি মর্মাহত। অনেক যাত্রী প্রাণ হারিয়েছেন। তাঁদের আত্মার শান্তি কামনা করি,। তাদের নিকটজনকে আমার সমবেদনা জানাই”।

তিনি আর একটি টুইটে লেখেন, ‘আমরা মন্ত্রীকে দোষ দেব না। তিনি যথাসাধ্য চেষ্টা করছেন। এই বিষয়টিকে দ্রুত গুরুত্ব দেওয়া উচিত সরকারের।’


Pratima Mandal speaks on Railway Budget 2016


It is mentioned in the Railway Budget that Wi-Fi connection will be made available in four hundred stations. Madam, you cannot imagine the despicable condition of toilets at railway station. Especially in rural areas, there is no water facility.  Railway stations are not properly cleaned even after an interval of six months or more.

With due regards to the Make In India, Digital India projects, I specially believe that cleaning the toilets is a priority. Sufficient water, especially safe drinking water should be made available in all railway stations and their restrooms. Food provided on board should be adequate and shall meet minimum health requirements. The provisions for food must be available at all railway stations and specially on long duration.

Madam, I want to speak about another major and shameful problem, that of sexual harassment of female passengers. The Government should ensure proper security and safety. In case of any violation or complains, appropriate actions must be taken to efficiently redress grievances of the victims.

Madam, I would like to place my demands to which I had already placed in this House before the Hon’ble Minister Prabhu ji and also wrote to him but did not get any positive results from his end. I once again like to place my demands. My first demand is for shuttle train services from New Garia to Canning, from New Garia to Lakshmikantapur, from New Garia to Diamond Harbour and one local train service from Sealdah to Joynagar-Majilpur and construction of level crossings at Piyali Railway Station on Sealdah-Canning railway track. Three Railway projects, which are the dream projects of the then Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee. One railway project is from Canning to Gadkhali via Bhanganthali, another is Joynagar to Moipith via Jamtala and the third is from Namkhana to Bakkhali.

Thank you Madam for giving me an opportunity.

Derek O’Brien speaks on the Appropriation (Railways) No. 2 Bill, 2015 | Full Transcript

Full Transcript

Sir, this government is talking to us about cooperative federalism. But unfortunately, if you look at the way they are dealing with Railways, they are killing federalism.

Even the MP, who spoke first today, suggested to his Minister to complete the existing projects. Mr Railway Minister, your own MP from the back benches is asking you to complete the existing projects, I am also saying the same thing. Complete the existing projects in Bengal.

You keep telling us that you gave us so many thousand crores. But look at the percentage of the funds also and not just the numbers. You go on and on about SPVs – Special Purpose Vehicles. I am beginning to wonder whether SPVs are Special Purpose Vehicles or are they Suresh Prabhu Vehicles.

Your intention is good but you have a basic problem. You are suggesting setting up of SPVs for each project and after completion they will be dissolved. The problem is you want the States to fund SPVs.

Sir, West Bengal is a debt-stressed state, like Punjab and other states. We have increased our revenues by 105% in the last three years without increasing taxes. But we carry a legacy of debt-burden. The CPM had to go out of power because of that and we are paying the interest for the debt they incurred.

While you are talking about cooperative federalism, you have to keep in mind the debt-stressed states. I also want to refer to my neighbouring state Odisha. Please study what happened with POSCO and associated SPV there. It ran into several problems.

Sir, the message I want to leave you with is very simple. Like your MP said in the beginning, complete the existing projects. You have not announced any new projects. Fair enough. Do not deprive states which are debt-stressed. Try SPVs once or twice, it will fail in six months and you will come back to normal.

You keep saying you are increasing the allocation of money to States from 32% to 42%. In reality, you are not. Please Mr Railway Minister please do consider these points, that is my request to you.

Thank you, Sir.

Derek O’Brien speaks during discussion on working of Ministry of Women & Child Development | Transcript

Full Transcript:

Sir, I would like to make one comment and three questions.

Sir, this department is called the Women and Child Development but looking at the treasury benches, now I have realised why the Minister very graciously informed us that she was ready with her reply in August and but could not make it till March. Sir, I am only making an observation that the the department for women and child has become the department for woman and child as there is not a single woman – other than the Minister – in the treasury benches. This is an attitude issue.

Sir, I have three pointed questions.

One of the schemes which the Government has rolled out is the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao. A test is being done in about 100 districts. This is my understanding. Now the Finance Minister in his Budget has allocated Rs 100 crore for this programme this year. My question to the Minister is – would you consider a programme called Kanyashree – approved by the UN, running for the last one and a half years. It was rolled out and the pilot phase is over. This is a award winning programme. This year the State Government of West Bengal has allocated Rs 900 crore. For one programme. Not Rs 100 crore. It is a successful programme. Let’s not get into competitive federalism in a negative way. Would you consider looking at Bengal’s Kanyashree, running successfully for the last three one and a half years and adopt the model?

My second question is to do with scalability. We heard the examples you gave us, so scalability is the issue. The idea with the Railways Minister is good as it has to with adoption. The third idea is to do with inappropriate touch; spreading it in the schools. For these ideas what specific plans do you have for scalability? That is the challenge.

I am saying, if there are 20 railway stations, then what is the plan to make it 200? If it is 89 children – very good – how do you make it 89000? That is scalability. Testing has been done, what is the idea for scalability?

The Minister wanted an idea and I am giving her an example for Vishaka Guidelines. How do you spread the message through corporates? FICCI, ASSOCHAM and all the industrial bodies are doing very good work, get them involved. They can help you to spread this message.

Trinamool MPs slam the Government on the Railway Budget 2015-16

Trinamool MPs Derek O’Brien and Nadimul Haque slammed the Railway Budget 2015-16 in Rajya Sabha, calling it anti common people.

Derek O’ Brien raised the issue of allocation of funds for pending projects in Bengal and gave suggestions regarding passenger and falling freight issue. He pointed out the current document was almost identical to the Vision 2020 document made in the time of Mamata Banerjee as Railway Minister.

Derek O’Brien pointed out that on counts of doubling, gauge conversion, growth of freight loading, growth of passengers originating, Railways performed much better during the tenure of Mamata Banerjee as the Railway Minister, rather than in 2013-14. He also asked the Minister to have a relook on the accounting system, which presently works on a system, which is 95 year old. He reiterated the stand of not supporting FDI in Railways.

“Freight in the Railways has come down from 60% to something like 30%. This is a big loss. I want to make here is that you have to stop competing with road and become a partner of the roads. Like Procter and Gamble (P&G), you should become Prabhu and Gadkari (P&G). Both of you have to work together,” saying that there should be unity in rail and road sector.

He criticised the Government for cutting down the allocations for metro projects and workshops and hollow promise of ‘look east’. He urged the current Government to preserve the only steam engine train run in Darjeeling which is a national heritage.

Click here for the full speech of Derek O’Brien.

Nadimul Haque called this Budget as anti poor. He termed this to be a joke on the poor people. He slammed the Government for not looking towards the backward region of the country. Despite the fact, that oil prices have decreased, the Government has increased the freight fares, which will hurt the common people and prices of essential goods will increase.

“Railway along with being a  National Asset is also a strategic Defense Asset where the PPP model will only benefit corporates. Railway is th elifeline of India’s large population, do not treat it just as a commercial entity”, he said.

Click here for the full speech of Nadimul Haque.