Congress Calls For Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw's Resignation Over Kanchanjungha Express Train Accident

Congress Calls For Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw's Resignation Over Kanchanjungha Express Train Accident

“Unless you fix responsibility, how do you expect the government to run”, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate asked in a press conference here, while asserting, “Ashwini Vaishnaw has no moral right to continue as the Rail Minister”.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Wednesday, June 19, 2024, 01:24 AM IST
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(L) Railway Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw (R) Kanchanjunga Train Accident | FPJ

New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday demanded resignation of Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw over the train accident in West Bengal on Monday, saying he had no moral right to continue as a minister.

“Unless you fix responsibility, how do you expect the government to run”, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate asked in a press conference here, while asserting, “Ashwini Vaishnaw has no moral right to continue as the Rail Minister”.  

Quoting the CAG reports, Supriya Shrinate disclosed that funds meant for railway safety were diverted and utilised for buying crockery, furniture and massagers.

She pointed out, this was the second major train accident within a span of one year and the Railways under Vaishnaw seemed to have learnt no lessons.

The Congress leader observed that Railways was the most popular means of transportation because of being economical and was mostly used by the middle class, lower middle class and the poor people.

She said, Railway is no more a secure means of transportation and people are not sure that once they board a train, they will reach their destination safely.

Maintaining that rail safety had gone for a toss during the ten years of the BJP regime, Ms Shrinate disclosed that 1,117 accidents had taken place from 2014 to 2023, meaning a train accident had taken place every third day. She said, these were the official figures.

Referring to the Railway Minister’s claims and live demonstration of ‘kavach pranali’ (special protection system) to prevent collision between trains if they run on the same track, she asked, what happened to it.

The Congress leader said that the Railways was completely mismanaged and had suffered because of the callous indifference and negligence of the government. She pointed out, there were 3.12 lakh vacancies in the Railways, which the government was not filling up.

She said, 21 per cent posts of the loco-pilots were vacant, leading to extra burden on the staff with continuous 12-14 working hours sometimes. She said, at times the accidents are caused due to human error, which is the result of the overburdened staff.

The Congress spokesperson alleged that the BJP government had completely destroyed the Railways. She observed, it was neither a safe nor economical mode of transportation anymore under the Modi regime. She pointed out, the fares had been doubled and tripled and with dynamic pricing, rail travel turns out to be more expensive than air travel at times.

Referring to the terrible shortage of trains, she disclosed that 2.70 crore persons’ tickets got cancelled last year as these could not be confirmed.

She also criticised Vaishnaw’s statement that police force should be used to prevent unreserved passengers travelling in reserved coaches. She said, people do this out of compulsion as the government has converted the sleeper and 2nd class coaches into AC coaches and everyone cannot afford to buy an AC coach ticket. Moreover, the number of passenger trains has also been reduced. So, the government needs to rectify its mistake rather than using force on the helpless people.

Supriya added that the Railway Minister probably does not travel on a train, that is why he is oblivious of the problems faced by the rail passengers.

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