Expressing concern over the safety of passengers, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday said all the “empty” safety claims of the Railway Minister have now been exposed, in the wake of train accident in Odisha’s Balasore district.
In his letter addressed to the PM, Kharge wrote, “The devastating train accident in Balasore, Odisha, one of the worst in Indian history, has shocked the nation.The train accident has been an ‘eye opener’ for all of us. All the ’empty’ safety claims of the Railway Minister (Ashwini Vaishnaw now been exposed.”
“There is serious concern among the common passengers about this deterioration in safety. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the government to ascertain and bring to light the real reasons that caused this grave accident,” he said.
The Congress chief added, ” Today, the most crucial step is to ‘prioritise’ installation of mandatory safety standards and equipment across railway routes to ensure safety of our passengers and no recurrence of an accident like the one in Balasore.”
Kharge also posed a volley of questions to the BJP government over the train tragedy and said, “Instead of focusing on strengthening the railways at the basic level only superficial touch up is being done to stay in news. Instead of making the railways more effective, more advanced, and more efficient, it is instead being meted out with ‘step-motherly’ treatment.”
“Why was the previous government’s plans to roll out the anti-train-collision system, originally named Raksha Kavach put on the back burner? It was meant to prevent collision of trains. The government simply renamed the scheme ‘Kavach’ and in March 2022, the Railway Minister himself projected the rechristened scheme as a new novel invention. But the question still remains, why have only a measly 4 per cent of routes of Indian Railways been protected by ‘Kavach’ till now?” he questioned.
The Congress president also asked what the reason was for merging the Budget for Indian Railways with the Union Budget.
“Unfortunately, the people in charge – your good self and Railway Minister Ashwani Vaishnaw – do not want to admit that there are problems. The Railway Minister claims to have already found a root cause, but yet has requested the CBI to investigate. The CBI is meant to investigate crimes, not railway accidents,” Kharge said to Modi.
He added, “The CBI, or any other law enforcement agency, cannot fix accountability for technical, institutional and political failures. “