Rail Minister derailed in Lok Sabha

Last Updated: Thursday, August 4, 2011 - 16:04

New Delhi: Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi
on Thursday virtually got derailed during Question Hour in the Lok
Sabha with several members cornering him on the sensitive
issue of rail accidents.

Facing the Lok Sabha for the first time after taking over
as Railway Minister, Trivedi appeared to be at loss of words
while replying to members` concerns on the issue.
"It is a serious matter. There is no disagreement in
saying that we are all concerned," he said in reply to
Congress member Vilas Muttemwar`s question on safety measures
taken by the ministry in the wake of several rail accidents.

"At this stage, I must thank the rail parivaar - right
from the gangman to the boardman everyone is dedicated,"
Trivedi said recalling that there were 2000 rail accidents in
the 1960s, while this year there have been 93 accidents.

Muttemwar, a former union minister, could not help remark
that Trivedi is new to the ministry and will take time to
understand everything.

On Muttemwar`s supplementary questions on vacancies in
safety related departments and accidents continuing despite
taking various measures, the minister merely said "I have all
the answers only if you have patience to listen to it."

Trivedi`s remarks that Indian Railways was the best system
in the world given the constraints in the country drew sharp
reactions from members.
As he tried to compare rail accidents in India with those
in Europe, BJP member Yashwant Sinha asked him not to make any
comparison as even a single death in a rail accident was "most
despicable".

When members made their unhappiness known, Speaker Meira
Kumar appealed for calm and asked them to allow the minister
to speak as he was making his maiden reply in the House as
Railway Minister.

As commotion continued, Trivedi said "I cannot answer like
this. If you are not interested in the answer, then I am
sorry."

To a question by R K Singh Patel (SP) on replacing the old
signalling system and aging rail tracks in Bundelkhand,
Trivedi said he can make Indian Railways the safest in the
world if Parliament supports him.

"If this Parliament is going to support me, we can make
Indian Railways the safest in the world. I need your support.
Are you willing to give your support?" he asked the members.

To CPI(M) member Ramchandra Dome`s observations on rail
accidents, Trivedi merely said, "Answers can be given to
questions. Answers cannot be given to political speeches."

Yashodhara Raje (BJP) wanted to know when the next of the
kin of the victims of the September 2010 rail accident in her
Gwalior constituency in Madhya Pradesh would get jobs as
promised by the railway ministry.

Trivedi assured her that he would give the information at
the earliest.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, August 4, 2011 - 16:04

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