Railway minister Suresh Prabhu today got support from a predecessor Mamata Banerjee in the aftermath of the train mishap in Andhra Pradesh, with the West Bengal chief minister saying he is “earnest in his efforts” but the railways is now being “neglected” and given less priority.
Expressing grief over the loss of lives in the Hirakhand Express accident, Banerjee said “Sadly, today also many people lost their lives. My condolences to their loved ones.”
However, the Trinamool Congress chief who is at loggerheads with the Centre over demonetisation and the arrest of her party MPs in chit fund cases, said, “We don’t blame the minister. He is earnest in his efforts. But government needs to address issues urgently.”
In a statement, she said. “Railways carries crores of people everyday. It is the lifeline of the nation. We are proud of our Indian Railways employees. However, now railways is neglected and being given less priority. The budget is being curtailed. Safety and security are being compromised.”
Banerjee held the railway portfolio during previous NDA government and UPA-I.
At least 36 passengers were killed and over 60 injured as the engine and nine coaches of the Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed last night in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh with the railways suspecting foul play in the mishap.