After a gap of more than two years, CPM regained entry in Rail Bhawan, the headquarters of Indian Railway, on Wednesday.
When Mamata Banerjee became the railway minister of the second UPA government in May 2009, she completely stopped entertaining her arch-rival communists in the office.
Now with Trinamool Congress’ Dinesh Trivedi succeeding Banerjee, CPM politburo member and Rajya Sabha MP Brinda Karat found an audience with him when she took representatives of 17 organisations working for the disabled.
“The railway minister appreciated the efforts of the organisations. The railway minister has also acknowledged that rail services must to be more sensitive towards the needs of the disabled,” Karat told HT.
After Banerjee became the minister, CPM’s Basudeb Acharya was shifted from the chairmanship of the parliamentary standing committee on railways, allegedly due to objections of Trinamool.
The comrades also found it difficult even to get their requests for ticket confirmation approved in the railways headquarters. On one occasion, Md Amin, then a Rajya Sabha member of the CPM, found his own ticket unconfirmed.
Karat, however, didn’t meet the railway minister over political issues but to draw attention to the problems faced by people with reduced mobility, the elderly in general, and those with disabilities in particular, while travelling in trains.
“The delegation, among other things, demanded extension of e-booking facility for the disabled, and extension of concessions on tickets to all those categorised as disabled in the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995,” a press release on their behalf stated.
They also demanded that concessions be provided in local and passenger trains as well as long distance trains,” a release said.