Pernicious ways of Railway Minister
Posted September 12, 2016on:
Lalu Prasad Yadav was an egregiously bad Railway Minister, from the passengers’ point of view. But a dozen Lalu Prasad Yadavs combined cannot equal the most pernicious mind of present Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in thinking new ways by the day to inconvenience and persecute the passengers. As soon as the Modi Government took office at the Centre, then Railway Minister Devaragunda Venkappa Sadananda Gowda abruptly raised the railway fares by about 15 per cent, the highest in a single go. Modi, whose all actions have been directed at further enriching his rich friends in the industry at the cost of middle and lower classes, perhaps did not find Gowda outrageous enough. So he replaced him with Prabhu, who so far has stood true to his master’s expectations.
The Railways in India is the only means of transport for the people and had been, rightly, treated as a public utility service. Prabhu has been taking steps to turn it into a grocery shop run by a bumpkin. His sole aim seems to be to make more money, by whatever means. The travel is much more costly today than it was on the day he took charge of the Ministry. He has introduced schemes of virtually auctioning the rail tickets, like vegetables are auctioned in a Sabzi Mandi. According to former Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, Air India’s fare is less than Second AC of Railways.
Regrettably, the services in the Railways have been deteriorating directly in proportion to the extortion by Suresh Prabhu. I travelled in a Third AC coach of Durg Express from Satna (leaving around 8 in the morning) to Varanasi and at least six coaches were without water and the passengers had to wait even for washing their hands till the train reached Allahabad in the afternoon. Travellers have found coaches leaking during rains and cockroaches in Second AC coaches. Apathy of the attendants in coaches is a common complaint.
Now Prabhu has come up with an ingenious idea to loot the travelling public. He wants to charge money for the use of waiting rooms at railways stations. The task is being entrusted to IRCTC. Waiting rooms are meant to provide a place to commuters to rest while waiting for the arrival of the train. Passengers use waiting rooms mainly in three conditions:
- Suppose you have reservation in a Chennai-bound train from Bhopal station for you and your family and you are living some 80 Kms from Bhopal. As you will not like to take chances, you will try to reach Bhopal station much ahead of arrival of the train. Waiting room is the only place where you can, with your luggage and family, wait for the train.
When you have to change the train at some junction and there is a gap of a few hours between the two trains, the only place you can rest in is the waiting room.
You reach the railway station on time and find the train is late. Where do you wait except in the waiting room?
Now Prabhu wants you to pay for these ‘luxuries’.