The Muslim community continues to have a benefactor in Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav. On Friday, Lalu vowed to provide maximum opportunities to the community to increase its representation in the Indian Railways, which, at present, was just 1 per cent of the estimated 14 lakh employees working with the railways.
"The community has been ignored for too long. We promise to undo this unjustice," Lalu said, while addressing a function organised by the East Central Railway (ECR) to commemorate the 52nd Railway Week in Patna.
Lalu said, "It's a pity that only 14,000 Muslims are part of the railway family. From now on, they will get their due share in the recruitment whether of RPF personnel, gangmen, key man, drivers, guards, etc," said the Railway Minister.
Without naming any party, he said, "Those who suspect minorities' integrity are the nation's real traitors." He did not disappoint the SC, ST, OBC and backwards caste either. "All the backlogs in their appointment will be cleared very soon. I'm going to issue the necessary instructions to all the general managers in this regard," he said.
Pulling up the previous NDA Government at the Centre, he said, "They had pushed the railways to the brink of bankruptcy. This was the observation of the Rakesh Mohan Committee too. Retrenchment, voluntary retirement, privatisation haunted the employees. Fare increases were the order of the day. Employees' future was bleak. All that are now things of the past," the Railway Minister claimed.
He did not spare the former Railway Minister and his bete noire Nitish Kumar. "For all the claims he is making, he cannot hide the truth. He ran the Indian Railways aground without benefiting anybody," claimed Prasad.
Claiming that the railways' present turnaround has only been possible because of a firm vision, Lalu said, "Earlier, it used to beg the Government of India for some money to run it. But now, it is there for everybody to see how things can be done if there is commitment. It is for this reason that the world is watching the Indian Railways," he added.
He once again reiterated his stand that the railways won't be privatised. "There won't be any retrenchment or abolition of posts either. After all, the future of our coming generations, the railway employees and politicians rests on the success of the Railways."