The MPs appointed into the committee formed to curb the number of accidental deaths on the suburban networks seem to be oblivious about the urgency of the issue.
The Western Railway meeting, the first of the two, was held on Saturday in attendance of only one of the 19 MPs who are part of the 25-member Accident Review Committee. The meeting, obviously, was uneventful.
What’s shocking is MPs Kirit Somaiya and Gopal Shetty, who have been vocal about the issue in the past, too gave the meeting a miss. While Shiv Sena MP Rahul Shewale was present, Shetty had sent in his representative.
According to sources, some MPs are expected to attend the next meeting, to be held on Sunday, to discuss the issues plaguing the Central Railway commuters.
An official said, “Issues such as capacity augmentation of the local rail coaches and preventive measures to stop trespassing was discussed on Saturday. In addition, the committee sought active participation of civic agencies to create infrastructure around stations to check rising number deaths.”
Lamenting over the lackadaisical attitude of the MPs, railway activist Subhash Gupta said, “This clearly shows how concerned our MPs really are. Such committees are useless as most members have nothing to do with the issues passengers face. Their negligent attitude will lead to more outrage.”
Acting on railway minister Suresh Prabhu’s directives, the CR set up a nine-member panel, including four MPs, while the WR set up a 25-member committee. Lok Sabha MPs Arvind Sawant, Rahul Shewale, Gopal Shetty, Poonam Mahajan, Rajan Vichare and Chintaman Vanaga were appointed on the panel, along with 12 Rajya DSabha MPs, including Sachin Tendulkar, Rekha and Javed Akhtar.
Western Railways’ AGM and chief public relations officer were on the panel, besides an official each from the state government and Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation. Passenger activist P Lohakare and Kailash Verma represented commuter groups, while transport expert Rishi Agarwal represented the non-governmental organisations.