"BJP only doing publicity of Vande Bharat, entire Railway Department facing negligence": Mamata Banerjee




Siliguri (West Bengal) [India], June 17 (ANI): After visiting the victims who were injured in the train accident in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district on Monday morning, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hit out at the central government over their alleged negligence towards Railways saying that they have only engaged in publicity of Vande Bharat trains.

"I started so many things, but they are only doing publicity of Vande Bharat trains. Where is Duronto Express? After the Rajdhani Express, Duronto was the fastest train. During the time of elections they inaugurate Vande Bharats. This does not work. Today, the entire Railway Department is facing negligence and callousness of the government. They must take proper care," Banerjee said speaking to reporters after meeting patients admitted at the North Bengal Medical College on Monday.

Speaking about the anti-collision device that was installed in several trains when she was the Railways Minister, the Chief Minister said, "When I was the Railways Minister, I saw 2-3 major train accidents after that I ensured that the anti-collision device was prepared and started. After that collision of trains stopped."On alleged neglect towards the Railways Ministry, Banerjee said, "What is happening in the railways today, no one knows...There are several issues in the Railways Ministry. Separate Railways budget has been stopped and this department is not getting enough importance now..."Banerjee further claimed that nothing new has been done under the Narendra Modi government in the field of Railways and all new metros and railway stations that are being inaugurated at present have been funded by her when she was in charge of the Ministry.

"I know A-Z of the Railways, nothing new has been done. The new metro and railway stations are because of my time. Just see the 2020 vision, I gave money for everything...," the Chief Minister said.

Speaking about the response from the state government to the incident, she said, "Right after the incident took place, state govt provided medical team, disaster teams, Ambulance and everything possible to normalise the situation..."Questioning the presence of manual signalling which was disregarded by the loco pilot of the goods train that led to the accident, Banerjee said, "Why was there manual signalling? Now there is no system of manual signal. Now everything is modern, technical...Earlier I started around 2 lakh unmanned level crossings...Earlier there was no such system. Now every system is there but no one is there to take care."Earlier, speaking to reporters at the Kolkata Airport before departing for Bagdogra, Banerjee who had earlier served as the Railway Minister in the Vajpayee-led NDA government highlighted the poor amenities for passengers travelling by Railways.

"I have heard that the passengers who travel at night in the sleeper coach get such poor bedding system that there are various kinds of dirty things in it. They do not even clean the washrooms. The food quality has also become very bad," she said.

The Chief Minister said that the central government does not give adequate importance to the Ministry and the department can only be seen at the time of inauguration of projects.

"Now the Railway Department exists only in name. They have done away with the Railway Budget. Though the Ministry exists, the earlier aura about it has been destroyed. Railways have become totally parentless. You can only see the Railways at the time of inauguration," the Chief Minister said.

Accusing the central government of not taking care of Railway staff, Banerjee said, "I have worked in Railways and so I know the things. They are not even taking care about Railway officials, Railway engineers, technical staff, safety security officials and the workers. They are in problem. Their Old Pension has been withdrawn."Showing solidarity with the Railway employees, the Chief Minister said that the central government should focus on governance and not on "how to rig elections"."I am with the Railway employees and Railway officials. They are trying their best but this government only takes care about elections- how to hack, how to manipulate, how to rig elections...I think they should give more time for governance, not for utterance," she said. (ANI)

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