Railway officials, including a former chairman of the Railway Board, on Saturday, publicly opposed the Eastern Railway bifurcation, saying the move will cause “immense harm to the department”.
At a seminar on “The impact of the Railways’ bifurcation on the nation”, organised by Trinamul Congress at Mahajati Sadan, experts were of the opinion that the creation of new zones would only enhance expenses and affect services. “Efficiency will go down,” said Hrishikesh Banerjee, former general manager of Eastern Railway.
M.N. Prasad, former chairman of the Railway Board, said rapid strides in computerisation and communication technology have rendered the creation of new zones “quite unnecessary”.
He felt there was no need to bifurcate the Eastern Railway and North-Eastern Railway to create a East-Central zone since the two railways had a route length of only 9,200 km.
“The new zone will impede free flow of traffic, impair efficiency and lower customer satisfaction,” Prasad added. He urged the government to keep the Railways “free of political pressures and guard against state-level parochialism”.
D.K. Kar, former financial accountant of Eastern Railway, said the bifurcation would only increase expenditure.
“At present, the Railways spends Rs 121 to earn Rs 100. But after the bifurcation, it will have to shell out Rs 161 to plough in the same amount,” he said.
Former chief commercial manager Bhaskar Chowdhury felt that the creation of new zones will affect revamping of the operational system, which now requires a sum of Rs 15,000 crore.
Trinamul Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee, meanwhile, said she would organise another seminar in Delhi where several Railway Board officials would be invited.
Banerjee reiterated that her party was no longer a part of the NDA as the Cabinet had endorsed railway minister Nitish Kumar’s move to split up Eastern Railway.