Kolkata/New Delhi: A defiant Minister of
State for Railways Mukul Roy on Monday refused to heed to Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh`s directive to visit the site of
derailment in Assam, saying it is the PM who is incharge of
the Ministry and not him.
"I am not the Railway Minister. PM is the Railway
Minister," Roy said when asked why he has not gone to the
accident spot near Rangiya where six coaches of Guwahati-Puri
Express derailed last night after a blast injuring over 100
Roy, who was earlier tipped to become the Cabinet
Minister for Railways, was asked by the Prime Minister in the
morning to visit the site.
"I am only one of the three MoS` in the Railways. It is
the Prime Minister who is the Railway Minister," he told
reporters in Kolkata, adding he was looking after the
passengers of the ill-fated train and their relatives who were
coming to Howrah.
Sources said Roy, who belongs to Trinamool Congress, told
the Prime Minister`s Office that the affected railway track
had been cleared and injured moved to hospital and that there
was nothing for him to inspect.
It was not clear whether he conveyed the same to the Prime
"I have nothing to say. I suggest you contact the General
Manager of the NF Railway about this," he said when
persistently asked why he was not going to the site.
Northeast Frontier (NF) Railway General Manager M R
Chandra said, "The minister (Roy) has already offered to visit
the derailment site near Rangiya. But we told him that the
ground reality is such that the situation is almost normal and
there is no death except for some injuries."
Chandra said that Roy had been told that rescue and
relief operations were almost over and the damaged track would
be restored within 16 to 20 hours.
Interestingly, even on Sunday Roy had suggested that there
was no necessity for him to go to the site of train derailment
in Uttar Pradesh in which at least 68 passengers were killed.
"(I have) no such programme. If necessary then I will
think... If necessary, definitely I will go," Roy had said
when asked whether he planned to go to the accident site in
Fatehpur in UP.
When asked whether he did not think it necessary to rush
to the site despite the gravity of the mishap, the Minister
argued that he was "1,000 kms" away from the site and there
was another Minister of State for Railways who may go there.