Statement Issued by Shri Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Congress Parliamentary Party, Lok Sabha & Shri R P N Singh
The Indian National Congress stands for
progress, development, innovation and new technology, which is why the
Congress-UPA Government had signed an agreement with Japan in 2013,
which wouldrevolutionize the Indian Railways. This was a $7 Billion
contract envisaged under the Delhi-Mumbai Economic Corridor that would
have also lead to the introduction of Bullet Trains. The 2013 agreement
mentioned the details of the High Speed Railway Line between the
Mumbai-Ahmedabad routes. This would have increased our GDP by 0.5% and
would have created crores of new jobs.
However it is a matter of deep
concern that while the Prime Minister, once again adopted a UPA project,
it took him 3.5 years to come to this stage of laying a foundation
stone…. Only so that it is timedwith the Gujarat Elections.
We have witnessed in the past 3.5
years, how the Prime Minister uses big ticket projects, primarily for
elections and pushing projects just before the elections. Announcement
of Packages and such Projects have been a set pattern before every
The Bullet train foundation stone
has been laid after 3.5 years but at this rate the Bullet Train will
take years and years to complete, since basics like Land Acquisition,
intricate details etcare yet to be completed.
What is most distressing that the
BJP Government is focusing on this one Big Project at the cost of Rs 1.1
Lakh Crore. It has completely abdicated its responsibility towards
safety to the crores of Rail Passengers who travel daily on trains.
In 2011, The Congress-UPA had
constituted a High Level Committee on Railway Safety under the
chairmanship of former Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar.
The Committee submitted a detailed report with 106 recommendations in
The BibekDebroy Committee appointed by
the present Modi Government too had called for adopting the Kakodkar
Committee's recommendations to improve safety. Although the Government
claims that it had adopted 68 out of those 106 recommendations,
according to the written replies of the Railway Ministry itself- only 20
recommendations are in final stages of implementation. It seems that
the rest of the report is gathering dust in some corner of Rail Bhawan !
The Committee recommended a total financial investment on Railway
Safety to the tune of Rs 1,00,000 crore over a five year period. The CAG and the World Bank have severly castigated the style of functioning of the Railway Ministry.
Diminishing Status of Railways & Endangering Lives of Common People under BJP Government.
- 259 passengers have been killed, 973 injured in 29 major Railway Accidents since the Modi Government took office.
- India led the world in Railway
Accidents, by recording the maximum number of causalities and accidents
in 2016 in any country. This has been the highest in a decade.
- As much as 40% of 1219 line sections of
Indian Railways are congested beyond 100% capacity, thus resulting in
lack of safety. On 247 High density line sections, Congestion rate is
- 1.42 lakh (posts for safety staff
remain unfilled across India, which, experts say, is a major concern and
clear case of official apathy. Total number of vacancies in the Safety
Categories including Group C & Group D (Front Line Categories) is
- More than 1 Lakh Crore rupees will be
needed to upgrade signaling system and strengthening of tracks. It is
only in its third year, did the Modi Government realize that it needed
to create a Rail Safety Fund. After much coercion and requests from the
Railway Ministry, the Finance Minister, Shri ArunJaitley announced in
his 2017-18 Budget that a 'Railway Safety Fund' shall be created with an
initial corpus of Rs 5000 Crore only.
- Every fifth train accident in the last
two years occurred because of unmanned level crossings. Between April
2015 and March 2017, 98 people lost their lives at such crossings due to
- According to information provided in
Rajya Sabha in August by Minister of State for Railways, Rajen Gohain,
there are 7,701 such crossings across the country. Gujarat tops the list
with 1,895 unmanned level crossings (across broad and narrow gauge
operations of the Railways), followed by Uttar Pradesh with 1,112 such
- Six of every 10 rail accidents in
recent years have happened because of mistakes by or the negligence of
railway staff, according to a study by NITI Aayog.
- Modi Government has increased Rail
Fares by more than 70%. Even for a reservation of lower berth, Railways
charges Rs 50 extra. Platform ticket prices have been doubled. Freight
Prices have increased by 20% each year.
- Railways' operating ratio touches a
record 109% in April –December. In the nine months to December, the
national transporter ran up a record-high operating ratio of 109%,
meaning it spent Rs109 to generate Rs100, reflecting the competition it
is facing from airlines and road transport to carry people and freight.
Still At 96.9 per cent, Railways posts worst operating ratio in 16 years last fiscal. The last time Railways clocked operating ratio this bad was in years 2000-2002.
- Railways have missed earnings targets
for the third straight year and debts have shot up. Indian Railways
earned about 1,75,805 crore in 2016-17 from freight earnings, passenger
revenue, catering contracts, luggage transporting fees and other
- Indian Railways' revenue growth at seven year low.
- Even if you pay extra for faster
travel, there is no guarantee you will reach your destination in time.
Railways levied and collected Rs 11.17 crore from passengers as
'superfast' surcharges. But 21 superfast trains were late on 3,000 days
out of 16,804 as they failed to attain the 'superfast' speed, says the
- With a CAG report calling food served
by Indian Railways "unfit for human consumption”, the Ministry of
Railways has come out with a list of bizarre steps that it is taking to
improve catering services. Stating that the provision of catering
services for passengers with varied choices is an "onerous task”, and
that they should prefer to bring their own food, the Railway Ministry
mocked the crores of rail passengers.
- The unpopular flexible fare scheme of
Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto is one such anti people step which is
even contrary to the basic principle of free market economy which fixes
prices on demand and supply. While the passenger ends up paying 50 per
cent extra fare even when the trains are running with many seats empty.
As a result of this ill-conceived policy, even Air fares are cheaper
than a train ticket on many routes.
- The BJP which has promised 'Bullet
Trains' has done away with the 'Railway Budget' which was a reflection
of the status and capacity of the Railways. In the Last Financial
Budget- Railway was only given a 3 minute dedication!
- While the Prime Minister makes fake
claims of Railway expansion from the Red fort, his own Government
reduces the budgetary allocation of 'Construction of New Rail Lines' by
We have seen horrific Rail accidents
in the past couple of years, while Rs 1.1 Lakh crores are required for
Rail Safety, this Govt has actually allocated only 5% of that sum so