In a scathing letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge demanded answers regarding the tragic train accident in Odisha. Kharge accused Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw of disregarding critical safety issues and emphasized the need to uncover the true causes behind this devastating incident.
Kharge criticized Vaishnaw's call for a CBI investigation, asserting that the agency's role is to probe crimes, not railway accidents. He pointed out that neither the Railway Minister nor the Prime Minister wanted to acknowledge the existence of problems within the system. While Vaishnaw claimed to have identified the root cause, he inexplicably requested a CBI intervention, which Kharge deemed unsuitable for investigating technical, institutional, and political failures.
Additionally, Kharge highlighted the lack of technical expertise within law enforcement agencies regarding railway safety, signaling, and maintenance practices. The Congress leader stressed that the general public harbors serious concerns about the declining safety standards of Indian Railways.
Kharge urged the government to expose the real reasons behind the grave accident, emphasizing the need for transparency and accountability. The tragic collision between the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express, and a goods train resulted in the loss of 275 lives and left over 1,100 injured.
Referring to the recent audit report by the CAG, Kharge drew attention to the alarming number of train accidents caused by derailments between 2017 and 2021. He questioned why these critical red flags were negligently ignored, particularly highlighting the lack of safety testing in the East Coast Railways during that period.
Kharge acknowledged the nation's united grief over the Balasore train accident and stressed the irreparable loss of countless lives. He lamented that despite the Indian Railways' status as a vital lifeline for common citizens, the government's focus on superficial improvements instead of fundamental strengthening is deeply concerning. Flawed decision-making processes have compromised passenger safety, exacerbating the problems faced by the people, Kharge alleged.
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