Saturday, August 22, 2015

Echoing one of his predecessors Dinesh Trivedi of the Trinamul Congress, Union railway minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu on Friday compared the Indian Railways’ present condition with that of a patient admitted in the ICU. He also ruled out the possibility of the Indian Railway beating the Chinese Railway overnight and called for investments for infrastructure development to match its pace.

Mr Prabhu said, “The patient is in the ICU. After the operation, the doctor said the operation was successful. So obviously the patient will say: Ok doctor, I am going for jogging tomorrow and the day after tomorrow I am going to join marathon. But the doctor will say: You will not probably go at all and stay here. So marathon cannot be run by an ICU patient. Today’s railway cannot be compared tomorrow with Chinese railway.” He was speaking on a discussion on “Indian Railways: Facilitating India’s Economic Growth” organised by the Bharat Chambers of Commerce.

In March of 2012 the then railway minister Mr Trivedi, after presenting his maiden Railway Budget, had claimed during a customary press conference that the railway had gone to the ICU from where he brought it back. His comments angered Trinamul supremo and his predecessor Mamata Banerjee forcing Mr Trivedi to resign within the next few days.

Apparently passing the buck to previous the UPA government for the poor state of affairs in the railways Mr Prabhu argued, “We must first understand where the railway was and in that context you must compare today’s railway with any other railway.”

He elaborated, “If we were in a better position like the Chinese railway one year ago and you asked me, I would have said: Yes we can do better. But we fell in such a situation from where we started. I explained it and which all experienced also. So we need the time. If you are going to start running from zero point and still want to give the race to someone who is ten miles ahead of you, you can never be in the race.” Justifying his views the railway minister explained, “But what is the situation today? The railways have not added any capacity significantly in the last 15-20 years. Today the network is overstretched. The network is operating at the capacity of 150-160 per cent more than normal.” He underlined that an effort was needed to ensure the passengers’ safe journey and expressed his anguish over their long queues to buy tickets.


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