Senior Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee on Wednesday alleged that the BJP government at the Centre provides 'Kavach' (shield) to the corrupt but not to train passengers.
He was referring to the unavailability of the indigenously developed 'Kavach' automated train protection system along the route where a triple train accident in Odisha's Balasore district claimed 288 lives on June 2.
"The BJP was least interested in installing 'Kavach' system in Railways but was busy providing 'Kavach' (shield) to corrupt people who have looted money. People accused of harassing wrestlers have received BJP's 'Kavach'.
"Earlier, people accused of engaging in illegal activities used to go to jail, now they join BJP instead," Banerjee, the TMC national general secretary, said while addressing a rally as part of 'Trinamool e Nabajowar' (new wave in Trinamool) mass outreach campaign in Arambagh in Hooghly district.
Banerjee accused the Centre of spending crores of rupees on the construction of a new Parliament building and a "useless project" like Central Vista, while "ignoring" railway safety.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new Parliament building, which was built at a cost of Rs 1,200 crore. Around Rs 20,000 crore is being spent on the useless Central Vista project. Had the Centre spent Rs 50 crore on implementing 'Kavach' along the route, 288 lives would not have been lost," he said.
'Kavach' is an automated train protection system developed by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) in association with three Indian vendors.
Banerjee, who had earlier demanded the resignation of Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw after the accident, said the Centre can't evade its responsibility for the failure of "this magnitude".
"What has the railway ministry done in the last nine years? Is this an example of passenger safety? Whose responsibility is this? The Centre can't evade its responsibility," he said.
The BJP accused the TMC of indulging in politics over the tragic incident.
"This is not the time to indulge in politics over the tragic incident. The Centre has ordered a CBI probe to look into the matter. It will bring out the truth," BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar said.
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