CITU strongly condemns the steps reportedly being taken by the government to gradually privatise the Indian railways.
CENTRE OF INDIAN TRADE UNIONS
TAPAN SEN, M.P
30 January 2017
CITU strongly condemns the steps reportedly being taken by the government to gradually privatise the Indian railways. This measure is reportedly being started by handing over the running of the prestigious and heritage trains linking the hill stations.
Quoting railway officials, ‘Economic Times’ has reported that the routes linking Kalka and Shimla, Siliguri and Darjeeling and the Nilgiri mountains with the plains, Neral and Matheran and the Kangra valley railways would be among the first to be handed over to the private operators including foreign companies.
It has reported that the private companies, including the foreign corporates will not only run the trains but also maintain the lines and the stations and also own the station on these lines. They will reportedly be allowed to decide the fares after the approval of the Rail Development Authority of India that is going to be constituted.
Through this measure reported to `mark the beginning of corporate participation in running’ the rail network in India, the government is abdicating itself from its responsibility of providing affordable transport to the millions of poor and common passengers. The people will now be exposed to the market forces, not only in the matter of fares but also their safety.
Over 200 people have lost their lives in the three most recent train accidents in Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Thousands of posts related to maintenance and safety in railways are kept vacant. Instead of taking urgent measures to improve the safety conditions in the railways the government and the ministry of railways have decided to privatise the railways on the pretext of losses and the cost of maintenance. Privatisation will further reduce accountability endangering the lives of millions of railway passengers. The total negligence of the private operator in the Eastern Coalfields leading to the ghastly accident killing around 20 workers is the latest example of utter callousness of the private companies towards safety of the workers and the people.
These reported measures to privatise the railways totally contradict the repeated assurances given by the Prime Minister and the railway minister that the government had no intent to privatise the railway. Those criticising the move to privatise railways were even accused of ‘spreading lies’.
CITU demands that the moves to hand over the railway lines connecting hill stations to private players should be immediately stopped.
CITU calls upon the entire working class including the railway employees to unitedly fight against privatisation of the railways in any form. CITU calls upon the patriotic people of this country to strongly resist any measures to hand over the railways, the national wealth and lifeline of our country to private companies including foreign companies in whatever form.
Source : Confederation