T.K. RANGARAJAN: Thank you, Sir. Before I proceed with my speech on Railway Budget, I wish the Railway Minister all the best. I also wish him that he should stay in the Ministry as a Minister for all the four years. If you see the past record, from 2004 to 2014, in a matter of ten years, there were five Railway Ministers — on an average, one Minister every two years. I also observe that each Railway Minister announcing schemes of thousands of crores of value, even before the scheme starts, happens to leave the Ministry. To quote from the Previous Budgets, in the 2005-06 Budget, the proposed development fund was Rs. 24,000 crores; in the 2006-07 Budget, it was Rs. 22,000 crores; in the 2008-09 Budget, it was Rs. 75,000 crores and in the 2012-13 Budget, it was Rs. 90,000 crores. All the money was announced but nothing has been implemented. The Budget presented by each Minister has no linkage with the past proposals

and we the Members, the people of this country, are in the dark as to what happens to the schemes announced in the earlier Budgets. Every year when the Budget is presented, there is a situation of inadequate funds for development. The Standing Committee Report on Railways for 2014-15 observed, “Repeated shortfalls in the Annual Plan have an adverse effect on railway finances resulting in cut in expenditure on critical planned works. The Committee would, therefore, like to see serious efforts to be made by the Ministry of Railways to fully achieve the Annual Plan targets.” The Standing Committee further observed that in the last ten years, out of the sanctioned 99 new line projects, the Ministry is able to complete only one project. There are four projects which are as old as 30 years and still not completed. Just cases are pending in the Supreme Court and the High Courts. Today, in the Supreme Court, we have got 65,000 cases pending. In the High Courts, we have got lakhs of cases. This is a sad situation prevailing in one of the world’s largest Government departments, which is serving millions of people, particularly those belonging to middle class and lower income group in our vast country, Bharat. While this is the pitiable situation of our Railways and the Railway Budgets, our Minister has

presented a Budget this year and he proposes to invest Rs. 8.5 lakh crores in five years.

When he came here, he said that Life Insurance Corporation has offered Rs.1,50,000 crores. It is a good thing. I think, Railway Ministry has started moving. But he has to get the other Rs.7 lakh crores. Sir, the Public Enterprises Survey in 2013-14 presented by the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises states that there are 284 projects in railway sector under implementation as on 31.3.2014. The original cost of the implementation is Rs.1,48,717 crores. The anticipated completion cost is reported Rs.2,57,761 crores. This is seventy three per cent more than the original cost. You delay; the cost is going up. You delay further; the cost is going up further.

Next, I come to the railway safety. While the number of accidents have come down in the last ten years, the White Paper has observed derailment is one of the causes for major accidents. One of the causes for derailment is worn-out rails. The paper has also observed: ‘Arrears of track renewal are accumulating.’ I feel more funds need to be allocated for tracks’ renewal to avoid

accidents due to derailment. Dr. Anil Kakodkar Committee has estimated that Rs.1,00,000 crore is required for implementing safety measures in railways. It has also suggested that a Railway Safety Authority should be established with the powers to have a safety oversight on the railway operations. I request the Minister to consider and implement it.

Sir, on railway safety, I want to bring your kind attention to one sad incident. The President of World Council of Arya Samaj, Swami Agnivesh, has brought to our attention – I am prepared to lay that letter here as I am having a copy of the letter – that his letter to the Prime Minister, dated 16th February, and to the Railway Minister, requesting them to complete the accident enquiries within a time frame and make them public, has not been replied. He has sent two letters; one to the Prime Minister and the other to the Railway Minister. Still, these have not been replied. On the RTI enquiry – Swamiji himself made the RTI – whether railways publish enquiry reports of accidents, Northern Railway replied ‘Railways do not do so being a policy matter’. When accident occurs, paper should be published. The media will cover and the family will suffer. Why that accident happened; enquiry is being conducted but why they don’t publish, it is a policy matter. What policy? East Coast

Railway stated in their reply that ‘Such report is a confidential document not to be produced or cited as piece of evidence in a court of law.’ Is this minimum Government and maximum Governance? These are all from Swamiji’s letters. From Swamiji’s letter, I wanted to quote one para as to what he wrote to the Prime Minister and the Railway Minister.

It is really disturbing to note that Government of India, having monopoly in the matter of Railways, is not discharging its social responsibility towards public by not publishing enquiry reports on serious accidents in which precious lives are lost. In a serious national issue like this affecting the safety of passengers, Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety or the Railway Board or the concerned Ministry cannot be and should not be vested with the discretion of deciding whether or not to publish the enquiry reports.


 Several crores of rupees are spent on these statutory enquiries from the taxpayer’s money and people have a right to know about the reasons behind these accidents and action taken. The Central Government owes it to the public to conduct all such statutory enquiries within a deadline and publish the reports.”

Finally, he concludes, “Dear Prime Minister, while you are leading the country to an era of bullet trains, you must take initiative in this crucial aspect of passenger safety and allay the fears in the minds of travelling public.”

Sir, you have stated in your White Paper that introduction of new trains should be avoided until capacity augmentation is firmly in place. In the same paragraph, item No.1, you have stated that the concept of premium trains needs to be enhanced. The fares in the premium trains are three to four times higher than the regular fares. It is reported to me that these trains are running not even 25 per cent filled. I request you to reconsider the decision of running premium trains; instead they could run as special trains with normal fare. 2

Sir, for implementation of national projects in the North-East Region, the CCEA has approved creation of a non-lapsable fund called the North-East Region Rail Development Fund. It appears that the Fund could not be created due to the objections from CGA. I would like to know whether the objections have since been removed. If not, I urge upon the Railway Minister to take up the issue with the Ministry of Finance and resolve it. This will pave the way for faster development of the Railways in the North-East Region.

You have appealed to the Members of Parliament to allot money from their MPLAD Funds for providing certain infrastructure at railway stations. In this connection, I would like to honestly point out that the Fund is already loaded down with schemes like the SAGY, for providing toilets in schools, for sports and for the disaster fund in Jammu and Kashmir. I shall suggest and I also request the Government that it can take the entire MLAD Fund; we don’t want that Fund.

I am from Marxist Communist Party. We, from Marxist Communist Party, say that you take that money and you spend it wherever you want to spend. We don’t want to spend that money.

This would be the most important thing for travellers in Tamil Nadu.

Sir, I would like to bring to your kind notice the issue of sexual harassment at work place. If you go to a workshop or a yard or an office, a number of young women are working there. Skilled women are working in the workshop. The Supreme Court in Vishaka judgement, as a preventive step, has advised that all employers should express prohibition of sexual harassment, as stated in the judgement, at the work place and it should be notified, published and circulated in appropriate ways. I request that the same may please be implemented in the Railways at the earliest.

Finally, Sir, you may be aware that there is a multiplicity of unions in the Railways. Many times they show

competitive militancy to win over members to their side. Taking this into consideration, certain Central and State public sector units, for example public sector banks, allotted non-recognised unions a place for notice boards, union office, and a consultative status.

I suggest that in the Railways, those unions, which secure more than ten per cent of the votes from their members in the election for recognition, may be allowed a place to function from and to represent employees before the General Manger and Board level. This will enable a vast section of workers to present their grievances through their organisation and will bring tranquillity in the organisation. I request you to consider this. Thank you very much.