Faced with the wrath of the members of the House and their concern for passenger safety, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi on Thursday told the Rajya Sabha that the Railways would fill all safety-related top posts within this week.
Mr. Trivedi’s reply came amid taunts by members of the Opposition. They said the priority of the government was not the safety of passengers but securing a room in the Parliament House for the Railway Minister.
“I will be personally going to sit on everybody’s head, if I can use the word. All vacancies are going to be filled at higher levels within this week,” Mr. Trivedi said while replying to a calling attention motion.
1.5 lakh vacancies
The Railways has around 1.5 lakh vacancies related to safety, but Mr. Trivedi did not give the numbers that needed to be filled at the higher-level.
Earlier, while seeking clarifications on frequent rail accidents, the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam accused the Railways of having inadequate safety measures, which resulted in fatal accidents.
The agitated members said the reasons behind accidents included over 1 lakh vacancies in posts related to safety, large number of unmanned level crossings and indiscriminate announcement of new trains without investing in infrastructure such as locomotives, rolling stocks and fire-proof coaches.
‘Tussle for room’
Senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said there was a tussle between two Union Ministers for a room in Parliament. “What is the government’s priority? Is it about safety of a room [for the Railway Minister’s office]? If the Railways cannot secure passengers’ safety, room or no room does not make a difference,” he said.
Similarly, Prasant Chatterjee (CPI-M) had a dig at the Railway Minister, stating: “His chamber has been secured as the Prime Minister got involved. But how will the safety of passengers be secured?” Hindu