The Indian Railways run the third largest railroad network in the world spread over some 64,000 km, with 12,000 passenger and 7,000 freight trains each day from as many as 7,083 stations to ferry 23 million travellers and 2.65 million tonnes of goods daily.
Rail Budget 2012
Dinesh Trivedi of the Trinamool Congress appears to be a dynamic Railways minister who has shown the way to India by taking the bull by horn and stating openly "My focus will be safe safety, safety, safety” and has announced the hike in fares for first time in 9 years ( a hike of 2 paise to 30 paise per km in fares). Trivedi said safety would be the prime focus of his ministry during the 12th Five Year Plan, along with network expansion and modernisation.
Dinesh Trivedi Deserves Accolades
"I vow to target zero deaths," he said in his maiden Rail Budget speech. "I also propose to set up an independent railway safety authority, as recommended by an expert group headed by the former Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar."
Railway Budget 2012 Focus
The other four focus areas along with safety listed by the minister were consolidation, de-congestion and capacity augmentation of the network, modernisation and bringing down the operating ratio. He also stressed on better hygiene and higher speed of trains.
Mamata Banerjee Leader Trinamool Congress Reaction to Budget Presented by Dinesh Trivedi
"I will not accept price hike in railways and I assure you that I will not allow the railway fares to go up. I was not consulted and I am not happy with this (budget) and I once again assure you that I will not allow fare hike," Banerjee said in Nandigram in her statement reacting to Trivedi's proposals.
We condemn Mamata Banerjee as she is trying to stop a good minister from delivering results. We do agree with Dinesh Trivedi that Railways condition is like a patient in ICU and it requires a dose of 2 Lakh Crores to improve its situation.
Another Sensible Minister from Trinamool Congress
MP Sultan Ahmed defied the party's stand to come out in support of the embattled minister.
Dinesh Trivedi has defied Mamata Banerjee as their poll plank was not to raise fares and he has openly stated that Railway Ministry do not run from Writers Building which is office of Mamata Banerjee in Calcutta. Time will tell how the fiasco turns as Mamata appears relentless. It can be also a well orchestrated drama where a slight roll back can raise the stature of Mamata Banerjee in the eyes of People.