NEW DELHI: The BJP on Tuesday claimed that there was significant reduction in the number of train accidents in the last 10 years even as the Congress alleged neglect of safety by railways and sought resignation of Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw after the Kanchanjunga train accident which left 10 people dead and several injured.
The Kanchanjunga Express was hit by a goods train at Rangapani near New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal on Monday morning.At least four rear coaches of the train were severely damaged in the collision.
Senior BJP leader Amit Malviya, in a post on X, claimed that the number of train accidents under NDA rule was one-third of the accidents that happened under the Congress-led UPA. The BJP leader shared a graphic titled “Congress should stop lecturing on rail accidents’ which claimed that there were 1711 rail accidents between 2004 and 2014 when UPA was in power compared to 678 accidents from 2014 to 2024 under the BJP-ruled NDA government.

Amit Malviya also compared the amount spent on railway safety in the same period by the two governments. He said UPA had spent Rs 1.64 lakh crore from 2004 to 2014 while NDA had spent Rs 8.26 lakh crore between 2014 and 2024 on safety.
The BJP leader, in another post, targeted the Congress chief and listed 9 rail accidents that happened in 2013-2014 when Kharge was the railways minister in UPA government.

Malviya’s retort came after Kharge accused the Modi government of “destroying” Indian Railways and posed seven questions. Kharge said Vaishnaw has no moral right to continue as a minister. “Whenever there is a train accident, Modi government’s railway minister reaches the spot under the glare of cameras and behaves as if everything is fine. Narendra Modi ji, tell us who should be held accountable, the Railway Minister or you?” the Congress chief asked.
Kharge’s 7 questions to Modi government:

  • Why was not even one km of “Kavach protection”, the anti-train collision system, added after a major train accident like Balasore?
  • Why are 3 lakh posts empty in railways and nothing has been done to fill them up in the last 10 years?
  • NCRB report of 2022 states that 1 lakh people have died in train accidents between 2017 and 2021. Who is responsible for these deaths? Railway Board has admitted that lack of manpower has forced loco pilots to work long hours and this is the reason for increased train accidents. Why have the vacant posts not been filled?
  • Why was the Commission on Railway Safety (CRS) not empowered? The Parliamentary Standing Committee had in its 323rd report criticised the railway board for ignoring the recommendations of CRS. It was underlined that the CRS investigates only 8%-10% of accidents.
  • According to the CAG, 75% of funding was reduced in ‘Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh’ (RRSK) whereas the mandate was to provide Rs 20,000 crore every year. Why are railway officials using this fund for needless expenditure and other amenities on comfort of passengers?
  • Why travelling in sleeper class has become so costly? Why have the number of sleeper coaches in trains reduced? Last year 2.7 crore people had to cancel their tickets due to unavailability of seats – which was a direct consequence of Modi government’s decision to reduce sleeper coaches.
  • Did Modi government integrate railways budget with the general Budget in 2017-2018 to escape accountability?

Kharge, in his post, said “Self-glorification will not undo the criminal negligence perpetrated by the Modi government on the Indian Railways! Accountability needs to be fixed at the top.”

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