New Delhi, Jul 11 : DMK member Kanimozhi on Thursday took potshots at the Modi government, saying that it was shameful that manual scavengers were still employed in Railways.
During the debate on Demands for Grants for Railways for 2019-20, Trinamool Congress floor leader in the Lok Sabha Sudip Bandyopadhyay said bullet train concept is not possible in India and it was a "hoax" and a false promise of the government. DMK lawmaker Kanimozhi however, said,'It is not important if we have bullet trains, what we have to be ashamed of is that the railways still employ manual scavengers'.
The government has said railways do not employ manual scavengers directly, she said, but it was done through contractual labour. It is shameful for the nation to continue with such a practice, she added. She also showed her displeasure over nomenclature of projects only in Hindi and not in English or Tamil.
Ms Kanimozhi said there has been a decrease in the number of passengers as well as freight traffic. There has been loss of of Rs 6.10 crore annually as there was decrease in the number of passengers in trains and and she alleged that this government, thinks that privatisation is the only solution to all problems.
Mr Bandyopadhyay said Bullet trains can be called as high-speed trains. "It is a hoax and a false promise," he said, adding bullet trains have a separate structure. "It is bogus on Indian soil," said Mr Bandyopadhyay, who was chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways.He said the government has talked about speed, security and service, but never fulfilled its promises.
The Trinamool Congress leader said some recommendations for improving services, made by Parliamentary panel were implemented but several others were ignored. Security in Railways should be improved, he emphasised and said services and quality of food in canteens and restaurants of railways should also be improved.He expressed concern over continued vacant slots among drivers and gangmen.
LJP's Ramchandra Paswan, BJP's Ranjanben Dhananjay Bhatt, Ramesh Chandra and Sangeeta Singh Deo, SP's S T Hasan and IUML's P K Kunhalikutty also spoke. JD-U member Rampreet Mandal and BJP members endorsed government proposals to improve functioning of the railways. BJP fielded Sunil Kumar Singh, the lawmaker fro Jharkhand's Chatra constituency, who said the Modi government has taken a number of long term and visionary steps to improve the functioning of the railways.
Mr Singh also referred to the Railway Budget presented by Mamata Banerjee in the past and said out over 260 projects announced by her - hardly a few could make headway. Earlier, initiating the debate, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury made critical observation on the Modi government's approach towards the ministry. He said the railways had social commitment and thus the government had the responsibility to bear the social obligation. Seeking to suggest new steps for improvement of Indian Railways, Mr Chowdhury said the tendency to depend more on 'borrowings' should be given up and more emphasis should be given to internal resource mobilisation. (UNI)