Congress Will Revitalise Railways As Growth Engine for India: Kharge

Update: 2024-04-02 17:03 GMT
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge. (PTI)

 New Delhi: Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday attacked the BJP government on the state of the Railways, alleging that it has "ravaged" the Railways by destroying its finance, safety, efficiency and affordability.Kharge claimed that his party will revitalise the national carrier as a growth engine for India.

In a post on X, he said, "the Railways (is) ravaged under the Modi Government! Trains, getting "trained' only for Self Promotion."

"Behind the 3D Selfie Points of Modi ji and the event-driven green flags for Vande Bharat, lies the story of absolute apathy, complete neglect and deliberate emaciation of the Railways by the BJP," he said.

Kharge claimed the Railways is still the lifeline for crores of Indians, but the Modi government "has destroyed its finances, safety, efficiency and affordability".

"No wonder, the number of mail and express trains that were punctual declined from 79 percent in 2012-13 to 69.23 percent in 2018-19 ! (CAG 2023). The Congress party will revitalise the Railways as a growth engine for India," the Congress chief said.

Posing seven questions, he asked why has the BJP government not filled more than three lakh vacancies in the Railways.

"Is the BJP against SC, ST, OBC, EWS people who may avail reservation in India's largest public sector employer," he asked.

"Why has the average price per passenger per kilometre doubled from 0.32 paise per passenger-km in 2013-14 (UPA) to 0.66 paise per passenger-km in 2023? Is it not true that more than 100,000 train-related deaths were reported between 2017 and 2021? (NCRB). This does not include the deadly Balasore accident (2023) which took the precious lives of almost 300 people," Kharge said.

"Is it not true that the Kavach Railway Safety anti-collision technology only covers 2.13% of the network? Why did the Modi Government withdraw the concessions for senior citizens, women and children, in an apathetic manner during the COVID pandemic? Due to this revocation, the Modi Government looted Rs 2242 crores in a single year," the Congress president asked.

According to the CAG, he claimed that only 0.7 percent funds out of Rs 58,459 crore were spent on track renewal and asked why it was so.

This is the reason, Kharge claimed, why the much-hyped Vande Bharat high speed trains have an average speed of just 83 kmph instead of 180 kmph claimed by the Modi government.

"Is it not true that the move to merge the Railway Budget was a way to cut its funds through the back door? Is it not true that Modi Government has unveiled a grand plan of Privatisation of the Indian Railways and incremental privatisation has already begun," he also asked.

According to the National Railway Plan (2021) of the Modi government, the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha claimed "all freight trains will be privatised by 2031, along with 30 percent of the 750 railway stations".

"All profit-making AC coaches will also be privatised. Only loss-making second class passenger trains will be left with the railways," he said.


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