Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Railways need a full-time Minister

Mamata Bannerjee is more interested in politics of Bengal than running the railway ministry smoothly. She runs the Rail Bhavan from Kolkata office. But because of the compulsion of coalition politics, the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government bears with her callous and negligent attitude. Mamata's eyes are fixed on the power of West Bengal by defeating over three decade old CPI (M) -led Left ruling coalition in the assembly elections due to be held next tear. As a politician, she is free to nurse her ambition. But after becoming the Union Minister for Railways in the UPA govt, her top priority is Railway ministry as malaise in its functioning cause the death of hundreds of innocent people due to accidents. She must either pay primary attention to Rail Bhavan’s functioning or step down willfully. The country needs a full-time Railway minister . Her frequent absence from Delhi, which is also reflected from the Cabinet meeting from which she often keeps herself absented as she is pre-occupied with West Bengal politics in Kolkata. In absence of hers from Rail Bhavan, there prevails “ Chalta Hai” culture there. It is reflected in ministry’s failure to fit the rail tracks with modern ACDs to keep the passengers safe by averting the accidents on the model of Konkan model.The nation needs urgently a committed and devoted Railway Minister to run the biggest organisation. Though the Railway Minister is not directly responsible for accidents at regular interval, the casual and callous approach to run the Ministry make all the components of its functioning prone to accidents. Indian rail can not match the world standard more because of lethargic functioning and less of financial allocation. The big organisation like Railways which link one corner to another of the country needs a political executive at the top who has no other primary business than this. Since Mamata Bannerjee took over the charge Railway Ministry in UPA Government , there have been 200 major and minor accidents and over 400 lives have been lost. The Monday’s tragic accident at Sainthia Station in West Bengal took away the lives of 61 persons and injured many. Nowhere in the world railway accidents take place at so frequent intervals like in India. Since 2000 there have been 2700 major and minor accidents and 2700 persons have lost their lives.There are 90,000 vacant posts lying in Rail Disaster Management. It is not filled because bureaucratic mal-functioning and absence of Railway Minister from Rail Bhavan. The situation demands a full-time minister bring prevailing work culture in Rail Ministry back on track. It is for Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to take serious note of the functioning in Rail Bhavan and save the innocent people from further accidents. There may be human error but it is very awkward to let the situation prevails and take away the lives of people. Now enough is enough and Mamata must go.

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