Opposition slams govt over ‘privatisation’ of Railways, wants Rail Budget restored

| March 13, 2020

DMK member S S Palanimanickam said the BJP government is moving towards privatisation of railways. “Air India is on verge of privatisation. Land and sea transport have already been privatised. I suggest just give up the idea of privatisation of railways,” he said.

Opposition MPs Thursday warned against privatisation of Indian Railways, with many in Lok Sabha urging the government to revert to the system of a separate Rail Budget for greater scrutiny of the national transporter.

Participating in a discussion on demands for grants of the Ministry of Railways, Congress MP M K Raghavan said the BJP government has shown consistent apathy towards railways in the last five years and the dismal performance is visible in the high operating ratio, which is the worst in last 10 years.








“Railways is a services sector. BJP is unaware of reasons for establishment of railways. Railway is not an engine to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, it is for poor man’s service,” he said.

Raghavan said the focus on Railways in the Union Budget is cursory and reveals neglect. There is a drive to sell off public assets and a colossal failure in its management, he said. “This Budget is a call for privatisation and eventual selling off of railways which is the lifeline of Indian people,” he said.

DMK member S S Palanimanickam said the BJP government is moving towards privatisation of railways. “Air India is on verge of privatisation. Land and sea transport have already been privatised. I suggest just give up the idea of privatisation of railways,” he said.

“Earlier, there was a separate Budget for all zones. The Rail Minister used to hold meeting with MPs to know demands of zones but now no such meetings take place.”
TMC member Saugata Roy also demanded a separate Rail Budget. “I think it was a wrong step (Budget merger). That is why the Railways is not getting any primacy even today. I think the government should revert to the old system of having a separate Railway Budget,” Roy said.




The Group A cadre-merger issue also invited criticism. “This move is being strongly resented by the railway officers. They cannot say it aloud because the government has got 303 MPs, but if you ask individually, every railway officer will say that this will destroy the ethos of the Railways. I strongly oppose the merger of the three Railway Services into one,” he said.




The government had in 2016 approved the merger of the two Budgets, ending a 92-year-old practice.

Pointing out the escalating operating ratio of the Railways, RSP’s N K Premachandran said that the CAG has also commented that it is the worst in years. “We have given many suggestions to improve the operating ratio. If the government does not improve it, it will automatically become a reason for privatisation of Railways,” he said. Noting that Railways is now appointing only contractual labourers, Palanimanickam said, “If you have the mindset to privatise, how can you save Railways?”

While Railway Minister Piyush Goyal will reply to the discussion Friday morning, Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi intervened in the discussion to say that more has been done in the sector on key parameters in the six years of the Narendra Modi government as compared to the 10 years of UPA rule.

Source:- IE

Category: Indian Railways, News

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