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June 17, 2024

Railways in Crisis: Mamata Banerjee Criticizes Central Government for Fare Hikes and Neglecting Passenger Safety

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has leveled strong allegations against the central government, claiming that the Indian Railways have become “totally parentless.” Addressing the press at Kolkata airport en route to Siliguri following a tragic train accident near Rangapani, Banerjee accused the Railway Ministry of prioritizing fare increases over the improvement of passenger amenities and safety measures.

Banerjee, visibly distressed by the recent accident involving the Agartala-Sealdah Kanchanjunga Express, which resulted in several fatalities and injuries, criticized the Ministry for neglecting essential upgrades and safety protocols. “The railways have lost their former glory. The focus now seems to be on superficial beautification rather than on the welfare of passengers and railway employees. They are only keen on hiking fares,” she stated emphatically.

Highlighting the deteriorating conditions within the railways, Banerjee lamented the lack of attention to the well-being of railway officers, technical staff, and safety personnel. “They talk big but fail to take care of the essential workforce. I stand with the railway employees and officers who are being neglected,” she added.

A significant part of Banerjee’s critique centered around the inadequate implementation of the anti-collision system, a technology designed to prevent train accidents. She argued that the rise in train accidents could be mitigated if the system were properly installed and maintained. “Accidents are unavoidable to an extent, but the impact can be significantly reduced. The Ministry is failing to implement the anti-collision system effectively,” Banerjee asserted.

Describing the aftermath of the Rangapani accident, she noted the severity of the situation with many passengers critically injured. “This accident could have been far worse. Currently, seventy to eighty people are injured, with around twenty in critical condition. The chaos following such accidents makes it difficult to estimate the total number of casualties,” she explained.

Adding to her grievances, Banerjee expressed her frustration over the difficulty in securing a flight to Siliguri, which delayed her arrival to assess the situation and offer support. “I’ve been trying to get a flight to northern Bengal since morning but couldn’t manage one. The condition of flight services is appalling,” she remarked.

Upon reaching Siliguri, Banerjee planned to visit the North Bengal Medical College to meet with the injured and their families. However, she mentioned that she would not be visiting the accident site directly but would proceed to Coochbehar due to prior commitments, with plans to return to Kolkata the following evening.

The Rangapani accident occurred near the New Jalpaiguri station when a goods train collided with the rear of the Agartala-Sealdah Kanchanjunga Express. The incident has raised serious concerns about railway safety and the need for immediate reforms.

Mamata Banerjee’s comments have put a spotlight on the pressing issues within the Indian Railways. Her critique underscores the urgent need for the central government to address passenger safety, implement advanced safety technologies, and ensure the welfare of railway employees. The recent accident serves as a grim reminder of the potential consequences of neglecting these critical areas.

Read more latest news on R9 News

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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