By Soroor Ahmed (NVONews.Com)
Though Marxists are thrown out of power from West Bengal, Maoists virtually crushed and Mamata Banerjee out from the railway ministry yet trains continue to meet with accident in India.
Within 10 days of a major accident involving Humpi Express and a goods train in Andhra Pradesh on May 22 in which 25 were killed, at least seven bogies of Howrah-Dehra Dun Express got derailed in Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh on May 31. Many passengers perished in it.
But why with the same technology––in fact even better than three years back––so many mishaps have been taking place in India. When two major accidents took place in quick succession during the tenure of Mamata Banerjee in her home state, West Bengal, in 2010 she was quick to put blame on Maoists and Marxists.
Similarly, when three train collisions, involving five express trains, took place in a single day on Jan 2, 2010 in different parts of Uttar Pradesh she had fog to blame, though she should have thanked the inclement weather for fewer casualties. All these Express trains involved in collisions were running at a much slower speed.
But whom would the present railway minister, Mukul Roy, blame for the two quick accidents. Last July Kalka Mail got derailed in UP killing more than 100. It was followed by fire in––once again––Howrah-Dehra Dun Express near Dhanbad in Jharkhand, killing seven passengers.
Similarly when Goa Sampark Kranti collided with Mewar Express in Oct 2009 near Mathura (UP) there was no Marxist or Maoist around nor was the weather to blame.
The moot question is: why after relatively better track record of the railways between 2004 and 2009 there is sudden rise is major accidents in India. There should be somebody to take responsibility. Mamata Banerjee may be out of the Rail Bhawan since May 20, 2011 but she still calls the shot.
The manner in which she got Dinesh Trivedi humiliated and kicked out from the Rail Ministry after he presented the Railway Budget is known to all. What is perhaps not so much known is the way she is still running the ministry from Kolkata. The present incumbent Mukul Roy has little say as has repeatedly been highlighted in the media.
For example, Mint, a business daily, earlier this month highlighted as to how she influenced top railway officials to slow down the work on two locomotive factories in Chapra and Madhepura in Bihar to get one established in West Bengal. The foundation of two locomotive factories––one each of diesel and electric––were laid down by the then railway minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav. In which capacity she did so is not yet known? Can a state chief minister, who once happened to be the railway minister indulge in such an act? What is the Prime Minister doing after this media disclosure?
The greatest problem with Mamata Banerjee as the railway minister was that she was very quick in passing on the blame. Within minutes of major accidents in West Bengal in May and July 2010 she blamed the Maoists and Marxists. She thus made the inquiry of Commissioner, Railway Safety, irrelevant.
If the minister is so quick in blaming somebody else then he or she is rather unnecessarily giving a clean chit to the employees and the whole system. Thus, he or she, in a way, condones the crime of the railwaymen. This has a detrimental impact on the system.
One of the first thing Mamata did after taking over as the railway minister in May 2009 was the decision to come out with a White Paper on the profit earned by the Indian Railways during the five year tenure of Lalu Yadav. The latter was the minister in UPA-I under the same Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. How can a successor Railway Minister go on ordering probe into the profit made earlier. In fact the whole move of releasing White Paper backfired.
So instead of concentrating on improving the Indian Railways the then Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee either got involved in some other issues or remained busy in putting blame on political rivals. Once when a cockroach was found in meal supplied by the railway canteen she put the blame on Marxists. Can it be believed?