SUCI(C) flays Railway Budget as a heinous move to hide the hideous underbelly of corruption-stricken deteriorating train service under a pack of hollow customary promises

Shri Provash Ghosh, General Secretary, SUCI(C), has issued the following statement today :

The Railway Budget presented by the Union BJP Railway Minister has surreptitiously bypassed reference to all the serious problems and plights that common passengers have been experiencing. He has talked of curtailing expenditure without mentioning the mountain-high corruption, unthinkable wastage and rampant pilferage which are causing rise in expenses. He has estimated an earning of Rs 1.85 lakh crores without spelling out the sources. There is no scope for deriving comfort from non-announcement of any hike in passenger fare or freight charges as it has now become a practice to raise tariff at any point of time out of budget and bypassing parliament through issue of administrative fiat. Besides straightaway increase in prices, there is a backdoor recovery of additional fare in the form of superfast surcharge, raising tatkal quota, introducing variable cost of tickets based on demand, doubling rate of platform ticket or minimum fare in passenger trains etc. The Railway Minister has not said that such would not be done in the coming year as well. While punctuality is a word that has vanished from the logbook of railways, the minister cunningly dodged that aspect by talking of ensuring 95% running on time by 2020. There is no concrete blueprint of ensuring safety of passengers against theft and burglary as also of women passengers against rising incidents of molestation. Similarly, the question of proper maintenance of tracks and bridges to avert accidents has not been addressed to with due importance. Only there have been some casual passing remarks on the security question. Likewise, experience of the passengers is that more the government talks of cleanliness more dirty and filthy are the rakes and the stations no matter howsoever bragging is there about introducing bio-disposal mechanisms, sweeper on call and so forth. This hideous underbelly of corruption-stricken fast deteriorating train service has been sought to be suppressed under the pack of some customary promises and hi-tech dream-vending which every passenger knows from experience are only cosmetic in nature and meant to be showcased only. The development schemes that the government announces with much fanfare are mostly found to be either abandoned or kept in suspended animation. Covert indication of phased privatization of railways is also evident in the announcement of adoption of the PPP route as well as the launch of marquee service Tejas out of subsidy with the help of special service provider. Such widespread privatization would also drastically curtail the employment potential of the Railways.

We strongly deplore such a highly deceptive budget and call upon people at large to rise in concerted protest against such repeated bouts of trickeries to hoodwink them.

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