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Odisha train accident: Trinamul Congress slams BJP for neglecting railway safety norms

The saffron party stung by the criticisms urged TMC to refrain from indulging in politics over the tragic incident

PTI Calcutta Published 03.06.23, 06:49 PM
Medics during search and rescue work at the train accident site in Balasore district on Saturday.

Medics during search and rescue work at the train accident site in Balasore district on Saturday. PTI

The Trinamul Congress Saturday slammed the BJP-led government at the Centre over the train disaster in Odisha and accused it of neglecting passenger safety.

It said the Centre cannot evade the onus of the tragedy, which has left 261 passengers dead and about a 1000 injured.


The BJP stung by the criticisms urged TMC to refrain from indulging in politics over the tragic incident.

The Indian Railways has ordered a high-level probe to ascertain the cause of the accident.

West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, who visited the accident site on Saturday afternoon, claimed that the railway ministry is being neglected.

"The anti-collision device which I had decided to instal during my tenure as railway minister is not in place," she said.

Banerjee was the railway minister twice - during Atal Bihari Vajpayee's reign and during the prime ministership of Manmohan Singh in 2009 to 2011.

The accident on Friday night killed at least 261 people and injured nearly 1,000 in one of the worst railway tragedies in the country.

TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee lashed out Friday night itself, soon after the three trains crashed at Bahanagar Bazar station and demanded the immediate resignation of Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.

He alleged that the Centre spends crores of rupees on software to spy on opposition leaders but is neglectful in installing anti-collision devices in trains to prevent rail accidents.

Keeping up his tirade, Banerjee said the Narendra Modi government at the Centre boasts of the semi-high speed Vande Bharat trains and newly-constructed railway stations to bolster political support by "misleading the public", but is negligent about the safety measures. "What has the railway ministry done in the last nine years (since Modi assumed prime minister's post)? The prime minister talks about Vande Bharat trains. Is this an example of passenger safety? Whose responsibility is this? The Centre can't evade its responsibility," he told reporters at Howrah.

He alleged that most of the railway projects are being inaugurated without proper completion.

"Whenever a new train is being inaugurated, the PM is there for the inauguration programme. Then why will he not take the onus of this incident? Why will the railway minister not take responsibility and resign? This double standard has to stop," he said.

The Centre is spending crores on the Central Vista project and the official jet for the prime minister. "But why is there so much apathy towards passenger security?" he asked. Echoing him, TMC Rajya Sabha party leader Derek O'Brien tweeted, "Saddened as we mourn the dead, say a silent prayer for 300 grieving families and wish the injured recover soon".

He said that on 25 May the prime minister made the "idle (political) boast" about how 'real work to change railways started only after 2014' (when Modi assumed the post). TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh too said the union government "cannot evade responsibilities".

"The Centre has to answer for this tragedy. It must reply to the questions about passenger safety," he said.

Urging TMC to refrain from doing politics over the rail disaster, BJP's Bengal president Sukanta Majumdar said "This is not the time to indulge in politics over the tragic incident".

"So many people have died. It is time to mourn for those who have lost their lives and extend all possible help to the injured," he added.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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