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Mamata to fight political battle outside Parliament

Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is under attack for her reported pro-Maoist statements, on Friday refused to be drawn into the issue in Rajya Sabha saying she will fight her political battle outside Parliament.



New Delhi: Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is under attack for her reported pro-Maoist statements, on Friday refused to be drawn into the issue in Rajya Sabha saying
she will fight her political battle outside Parliament.

In reply to supplementaries in Question Hour, when Banerjee mentioned that trains were being delayed due to blockades and sabotage, some opposition members shouted
Maoists were more responsible for such acts.

"You can (try to) provoke me, but I will not be provoked," she said. "I will fight my political battle outside (Parliament) not inside. I maintain dignity (of the House)."

Banerjee then said 11 percent of train delays were because of rail roko and sabotage. Yet, in 75 percent cases punctuality is maintained, she said.

Infrastructure congestion especially at railway stations causes delays and Indian Railways was expanding infrastructure to address the issue, she said.

"We need upgradation and modernisation of rail infrastructure," she said.

Banerjee said on July 13 Bhopal-New Delhi Shatabdi Express had a 5-minute late start to accommodate some foreign passengers who were delayed.

"They had taken prior permission from divisional headquarters," she said adding the train reached New Delhi eight minutes behind schedule, which as per Railway system is
considered punctual.

To a separate question, Banerjee said GPS system would be installed on all trains in next two years.

This would be done after addressing concerns of its potential misuse by finding out the exact location and time of arrival of train at a particular point, she said.

A system - Satellite Imaging for Rail Navigation (SIMRAN) - has been developed jointed by Research Designs and Standards Organisation and IIT Kanpur for monitoring train location and movement in real time.

"The system can also provide real time information to public through Internet, SMS and station display boards," she said. "The system can also be used for alerting railwaymen
working on the tracks and alerting road users at level crossing gates when a train is approaching," she said.

Security implications of train location information is being assessed and a decision will be taken soon," she added.

PTI

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