The triple train tragedy of Balasore, Odisha has claimed the lives of approximately 300 travelers. While the rail workers are trying to detangle the knots left in the wake of the accident; the members of the opposition are guiding the public ire towards the resignation of PM Modi and Ashwini Vaishnaw. Moreover, the opposition parties are baying for a criminal investigation against the Minister of Railways as well as PM Modi. Therefore, the public servants and the common man unite to deal with the aftermath of the accident, the opposition continue to play dirty politics in the name of justice for all affected individuals.
Progress of Indian Railways in the Last Decade
Indian Railways is ranked as the fourth largest in the global rail network rankings. However, it is the largest network under a single management. It provides affordable travel to 23 million travelers in over 13,000 passenger trains every day. India has a 68,155 km rail network that spans across the nation similar to the nervous system of a human body. The heart beat of India can be measured in the pulse of its trains.
Over the last 9 years the BJP government has invested in railway infrastructure by introducing investor-friendly policies.
Enabling Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in railways has led to the significant improvement in the infrastructure in the Indian Railways. The railways freight and passenger trains now have access to the remote parts of the north-east India and Leh-Ladakh regions. Vande-Bharat express, high-speed trains, and the expanding metro train-network showcase the BJP government’s efforts to give Indian railways a facelift. Vista-domes coaches, Deen-Dayalu coaches, LHB coaches, Kavach system, Kisan Rail, etc. are a few achievements made by the Ministry of Railways in the past 9 years.
While providing subsidies worth ₹ 59,837 crore on passenger tickets in 2019-20, the Indian railways listed a revenue of ₹1.13 billion. Moreover, the Indian Railways reported a revenue jump of 10% in the financial year 2021-2022. The near 100% electrification of the rail network was reported in February 2023. In addition, the perfect ‘zero’ fatalities record in 2019- 2020 highlight the success of the BJP government’s policies since 2014.
Does Ashwini Vaishnaw really need to resign?
The Balasore triple train collision has sparked a fresh call for resignation of ministers in the central government. The Congress and other opposition parties are asking for the voluntary resignation of Ashwini Vaishnaw to appease public anger. However, the call for resignation is only from the opposition; the general public’s response was to donate blood to the hospitals, offer refuge to detrained-travelers, and help the emergency services in rescue operations. The Indian public has actively contributed to increasing positivity about India internationally through their actions in the face of this tragedy.
Ashwini Vaishnaw’s tireless efforts to ensure resolution to the accident has won the hearts of his fellow countrymen. The growing modernization of the Indian Rail Network has received commendations by domestic as well as foreign investors. Ashwini Vaishnaw emphasis on ensuring passenger safety by upgrading tracks, upgrading to LHB coaches, etc. display his belief in good governance. His efforts and BJP’s modernization policies can lead India’s rail market to be the third largest railway market. Their pro-poor schemes and shrewd dis-investment policies will make India account for 10% of the global rail market in the coming years. Thus while the disaster at Balasore was the worst train collision in the last decade, it should not make a good man quit his job to pacify the opposition’s thirst for BJP’s blood.
Vision 2024 for Indian Railways
Indian Railways is the country’s biggest employer. The rail ecosystem generates approximately one million jobs every year. The future of the Indian Railway under Vision 2024 is the National Rail Plan. This plan proposes to accelerate the implementation of critical rail projects. It addresses the current difficulties of multitrack congested routes and the implementation of Kavach System on all tracks. Moreover, the plan aims at the completion of the 100% electrification project of Indian Railways. Additionally, Vision 2024 proposes to upgrade the speed to 160 kmph on high traffic routes; like Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai.
Thus even if one life is too many in any train tragedy, Indians must consider the involvement of external factors that led to this tragic collision. The common man must use his common sense to assess the information and facts presented by the Railways on this accident. Thereafter the public should assess if the call for resignation is truly justified or not.