Sack Suresh Prabhu or accept his resignation: Congress to PM Modi
New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should either sack Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu or accept his resignation over the train accidents, adding that he should also lay down a roadmap for safety.
The party said that Modi should appoint a responsible person in this position.
"Railway safety in India is in a mess. Accidents, derailments and complete apathy to passenger safety have become the new normal in Modi government," said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.
He said the Railway Ministry has failed to provide managerial leadership and so has the Railway Minister.
"Prabhu failed to provide leadership, roadmap or vision to railways. We had earlier demanded his resignation. He (Prabhu) has today said on Twitter, instead of coming forward and facing the media, that he takes responsibility."
"This responsibility business will not do. Either Prime Minister Narendra Modi should sack Railway Minister or should accept his resignation. It was time for PM to come forward and lay down a roadmap for safety of the Railways."
Pointing out that this is the second Railway Minister in three years, Surjewala asked: "Can only changing the Railway Minister change the focus on railway safety is an essential question."
Demanding that Modi lay down a safety map and a vision for the Railways to be implemented in one year, he said: "He (Modi) should also allocate money for rail safety measures and fill up the 1.42 lakh posts which are lying vacant and ensure rail safety."
The death toll in train accidents in India in 2016-17 is now the highest in a decade. As much as 40 per cent of the 1,219 line sections are now congested beyond 100 per cent capacity, he said.
"It is putting a serious question mark on passenger safety and rail safety. About 1.42 lakh posts of rail safety and others are now lying vacant. The net consequence is passenger safety is being compromised, derailment, train accidents and loss of lives is becoming the new normal," Surjewala added.
Earlier, party spokesperson Manish Tewari had urged Prabhu to take moral responsibility and resign.
In the past three years, 28 such incidents have taken place, in which more than 259 people have died and more than 973 were injured, he had said.
"If he has the slightest of morality, then after today's (Wednesday) accident, he should immediately give resignation. This is the worst kind of tokenism asking the Railway Board Chairman or any other official to step aside."
Prabhu on Wednesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and offered to resign "taking full responsibility" for train accidents and said Modi had asked him to "wait".
At least 74 persons were injured when 10 coaches of the Kaifiyat Express derailed in Auraiya district of Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday morning.