Thursday, July, 18,2024

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BJP engaged in beautification of words; neglecting passengers' amenities: Mamata Banerjee after train mishap

Kolkata (West Bengal): After a goods train collided with an express train in West Bengal's Darjeeling district on Monday morning, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee slammed the central government for neglecting passengers' amenities and focusing only on beautification of words.

"They (BJP) have so many talking points and beautification of words. It is just like fashion. But they don't take care of passengers' amenities," the Chief Minister said speaking to reporters at the Kolkata Airport before heading off for Siliguri.

Highlighting poor amenities for passengers travelling by Railways, Banerjee who had earlier served as the Railway Minister in the Vajpayee-led NDA government said, "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."

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. Railway has 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 Their Old Pension has been withdrawn."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.

Taking credit for building the Anti-Collusion Device which she claimed has been renamed as 'Kavach' by the BJP government, Banerjee said, "I had started the Anti-Collusion Device when I was the Rail Minister. It does not matter what name they give to it. I had tied up Konkan Railway in Mumbai, Goa. I had gone to Madgaon. After inventing this, I got it installed it on every train."

Sharing features of the device, she said, "Even it the driver falls asleep, it sets off an alarm. If two trains come close together, it will stop. It has different kinds of signalling."

Slamming the central government, the Chief Minister said, "It does not matter what they call it in thier own language. At first, be a Raksha Kavach for your people and then speak about such things."

Hitting out at the central government over back-to-back train accidents in recent years, Banerjee said, "There are repeated accidents in Railways. Last time I went to Puri when the accident took place. Even now there are many dead bodies there that could not be identified. Maybe they will all be cremated together..."

Banerjee said that her state government had been active since morning and has facilitated the entire operation.

"Our administration was alert from the time the Government of India did not even receive news of the accident. I have been monitoring the incident myself from 9 am till the time the entire rescue operation was completed. Our entire administration, starting from Chief Secretary, DM, police have sent ambulances to the spot, doctors from medical hospitals, facilitated admission into medical hospitals, recovered dead bodies and sent disaster team- the entire operation was done by us," the Chief Minister said.

Mamata Banerjee also attacked the government over the state of flights from Kolkata as she was not able to book a flight to Bagdogra from morning, ever since the incident took pace.

"I have been trying for a flight but that could not be facilitated. I had no idea that such is the state of our flights. If I have to travel to North Bengal, the 12:40 flight has got booked and following that, there are no flights in between. We had made fuel charges free. Now I have to think.

This is because they are taking all oil from us free of cost and roaming around the country and the world, and they are shutting down flights from Kolkata, flights to go to north Bengal, there is no scope of travel...," the Chief Minister said.

The Chief Minister said that the accident could have been more dangerous.

"If one train hits another, it cannot be determined how many coaches will collapse. Among the 70-80 injures, 20 are in critical condition," she said.

Sharing her itinerary, the Chief Minister said, "I could not reach the spot earlier because there was no way of transport. I will be going to north-Bengal medical college. I am not going to Chopra because all work is over there. I have called up MLA Hamidul (Rahaman) there in the morning. He has taken care of it...I am not staying in Siliguri at night. I will be going to Coochbehar for some work. Following that I will come back tomorrrow evening." 

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