New Delhi, July 11: BJP on Monday held Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who also holds the Railways portfolio, for the Fatehpur train mishap that left scores of people dead and alleged that lack of political will on the part of UPA had rendered the ministry an “orphan”.
“BJP expresses concern over the state of affairs in the Railway Ministry. It has become a victim of coalition politics in both UPA-I and UPA-II. The ministry has become an orphan and is surviving without any protection or guidance,” BJP spokesperson Jagat Prakash Nadda said.
The party, led by its president Nitin Gadkari, condoled the death of over 60 people due to derailment of Kalka mail at Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh yesterday.
Nadda held Prime Minister Singh, who has kept the Railways portfolio with himself since Mamata Banerjee resigned to become Chief Minister of West Bengal, responsible for the poor state of affairs in the ministry.
“The Prime Minister is squarely responsible for this... It is his weakness that he never intervened when Lalu Prasad and Mamata Banerjee were running the ministry,” he said.
He alleged that the UPA government was “insensitive” and warned that “passing the buck” will not do. Nadda also blamed former Railway Ministers Mamata Banerjee and Lalu Prasad for the problems being faced by Indian Railways today.
“As Railway Minister in UPA-I, Prasad had made tall claims of profits and given wrong figures. He also projected himself as a management guru at that time. Mamata Banerjee, who succeeded him, deflated his tall claims. But this ministry has now become a joke which is unbearable,” Nadda said.
Referring to the recommendations of the H R Khanna committee, appointed by the NDA government to study rail safety and other issues, Nadda asked why it was shelved.
“In 2002-03, the Khanna Committee had recommended a Rail Safety Fund with a corpus of Rs 15,000 crore. The Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had sanctioned Rs 17,000 crore after factoring in inflation,” he said.
Enumerating other achievements of the Railway ministry during the erstwhile NDA government, the BJP spokesperson maintained that 17,000 KM of rail track renewal, building of 3,000 rail bridges, upgrading of signals at 950 stations and improvement in security and other policy matters were approved by the Vajpayee regime.
He alleged that all these projects were abandoned by the ministry once Lalu Prasad took charge. He further accused Banerjee of contributing her bit to the deterioration of the ministry.
“The Railway Ministry migrated to Kolkata during Mamata Banerjee's time. She had a Vision 2020 but we all know her vision right from the time she took office was something else,” Nadda said, alluding to Banerjee's aim of becoming the Chief Minister of West Bengal during her tenure as Railway Minister.
The BJP General Secretary said yesterday's accident was a result of lack of long term planning by the ministry.
“The Minister of State for Railways (Mukul Roy) was not ready to go to the site of the accident. He had to be told by the Prime Minister to go. Railways is suffering due to coalition compulsions. No monitoring of projects is being done. One lakh posts of traffic and security personnel are lying vacant. Political will is needed,” Nadda said.
In his condolence message, Gadkari said the government did not take immediate steps to improve rail safety and the situation deteriorated further. He urged the government to take prompt and effective steps for the safety of people. PTI