Mamata offers to meet those behind sabotage attempt for talks
Howrah: Expressing anger at the removal of
connectors between two tracks by suspected Maoists near West
Bengal's Gidni station on Wednesday, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee
challenged those behind the incident to come forward and also
offered to meet them at a time and place of their choice.
Passengers of the New Delhi-Puri Purushottam Express had
a narrow escape in the wee hours today as suspected Maoists
removed the pandoral clips on a 400 metre stretch just before
the train was to cross the area.
"To those who are indulging in sabotage, I say, if you
have a political battle, fight it in the open like heroes and
not like cowards from behind. Tell me when you want to see me,
today, tomorrow, the day after? Just let me know, and I'll be
there," she said without naming the Maoists.
Banerjee, who was flagging off six trains from the Howrah
terminal here, said those behind the incident wanted an
accident to occur but alertness of patrolling staff averted a
"It must be understood that the Railways is not my
parental property. It is a national property," she said.
Banerjee instructed the general manager of South Eastern
Railway to award those railway staff whose alertness had
averted a possible accident at Gidni.
She pointed out that 1.30 lakh people died in road
accidents annually as compared to about 1,000 in the Railways.
"However even a single death in accident is undesirable," she
Banerjee announced at the function that the Railways
would give employment to Gouranga Sardar, a 19-year-old
resident of Canning in South 24-Paragans district who in 1997
had saved a Sealdah-Canning local from an accident by alerting
the railway staff.
"I was not the Railway minister when Gouranga, then a
seven-year-old, had saved the train. But I thought it was our
obligation to acknowledge his initiative. So we have responded
to his appeal for a job," she said.