regular-article-logo Tuesday, 03 October 2023

Former Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra reminds of Mamata Banerjee's train safety idea

Document had been prepared with vision to develop Indian Railways, one of the largest railway networks in world, which was safe and efficient

Our Special Correspondent Calcutta Published 05.06.23, 05:08 AM
Amit Mitra

Amit Mitra File picture

Former Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra on Sunday through a tweet reminded the "grieving nation" that Mamata Banerjee, during her tenure as the Union railway minister, pioneered the "anti-collision idea" as part of Railway Vision 2020 that was tabled at the Parliament in December 2009.

"I remind the grieving nation that a Comprehensive ‘Railway Vision 2020’ was tabled in Parliament by @MamataOfficial which pioneered anti-collision idea & more. If ‘all knowing’ Modi Gov had implemented M.B’s ideas since 2014, today’s tragedy may not have happened," tweeted Mitra, who headed the expert committee on railways when this document was prepared.


Mitra in his tweet also gave screenshots of a couple of pages from the vision document to buttress his claim that the Bengal chief minister had, in fact, pioneered the anti-collision device idea during her tenure as the railways minister.

The document had been prepared with the vision to develop Indian Railways, one of the largest railway networks in the world, which was also safe and efficient.

Mitra also quoted from the vision document: "Track, signaling and rolling stock including predictive and diagnostic tools, anti-collision devices and protection of level crossings for improvement in safety and reliability of operations to achieve zero accidents and zero failure in equipment."

Mitra's tweet comes a day after the Bengal chief minister on Saturday asked in front of Union railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in Balasore why anti-collision devices were not installed in the trains that met with the horrific accident on Friday evening.

Mamata, who on Saturday visited the accident site by a chopper, had said: "When I was the railway minister, I had introduced anti-collision devices. This (technology) prevents collisions. If anti-collision devices were installed, this accident could have been averted."

Vaishnaw rebuttal

A day after Mamata's comments and questions on why the railway ministry was reportedly slack in installing Kavach, an indigenous anti-collision device, got major traction on social media, Vaishnaw said Kavach had nothing to do with Friday's train accident.

"I also want to say that Kavach has nothing to do with the accident. This accident occurred due to changes to the electronic interlocking system. The remarks of Mamata Banerjee are not true," the Union railway minister said.

The saffron ecosystem has also gone after the Bengal chief minister, questioning her credentials as a railway minister.

During a news conference on Sunday, Mamata was asked to comment on Vaishnaw's rebuttals on Kavach.

"Why didn't he say this yesterday (Saturday) when I spoke about the anti-collision device (and was) standing next to him?" the Bengal chief minister wondered.

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