Thursday, February 29, 2024

MoS defies PM’s order to visit derailment site

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Kolkata/New Delhi: A defiant Minister of State for Railways Mukul Roy on Monday refused to heed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s directive to visit the site of derailment in Assam, saying it is the PM who is in-charge of the Ministry and not him.

“I am not the Railway Minister. PM is the Railway Minister,” Roy said when asked why he has not gone to the accident spot near Rangiya where six coaches of Guwahati-Puri Express derailed on Sunday night after a blast injuring over 100 people.

Roy, who was earlier tipped to become the Cabinet Minister for Railways, was asked by the Prime Minister in the morning to visit the site.

“I am only one of the three MoS’ in the Railways. It is the Prime Minister who is the Railway Minister,” he told reporters in Kolkata, adding he was looking after the passengers of the ill-fated train and their relatives who were coming to Howrah.

Sources said Roy, who belongs to Trinamool Congress, told the Prime Minister’s Office that the affected railway track had been cleared and injured moved to hospital and that there was nothing for him to inspect.

It was not clear whether he conveyed the same to the Prime Minister.

“I have nothing to say. I suggest you contact the General Manager of the NF Railway about this,” he said when persistently asked why he was not going to the site.

Northeast Frontier (NF) Railway General Manager MR Chandra said, “The minister (Roy) has already offered to visit the derailment site near Rangiya. But we told him that the ground reality is such that the situation is almost normal and there is no death except for some injuries.”

Chandra told PTI that Roy had been told that rescue and relief operations were almost over and the damaged track would be restored within 16 to 20 hours.

Interestingly, even on Sunday Roy had suggested that there was no necessity for him to go to the site of train derailment in Uttar Pradesh in which at least 68 passengers were killed.

When asked whether he did not think it necessary to rush to the site despite the gravity of the mishap, the Minister argued that he was “1,000 kms” away from the site and there was another Minister of State for Railways who may go there. (PTI)

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