Tamil Nadu

DMK opposes move to privatise railway operations

DMK Parliamentary Party leader T.R. Baalu has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi opposing the Union Railway Ministry's move to privatise operations.

“On behalf of DMK President M.K. Stalin, we want to strongly condemn the Railway Ministry notification on July 1 for private participation for operation of passenger train services,” he said in the letter.

“When the initial move of privatising railways was undertaken in 2017 based on the Bibek Debroy committee recommendations, it was clearly emphasised by then Finance Minister Arun Jaitely and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in the parliament that privatisation will not be allowed on rail operations. But the recent Ministry of Railways notification on July 1, 2020 inviting private players for operating 151 passenger trains on 109 pairs of routes goes against the Centre’s previous stand on the same,” the letter noted.

“Railways are the cheapest transportation in the country. Privatising railway operations is not only a move against the welfare of people, but it will also have a long-term cascading effect. The private players would join the fray only for-profit, and this will impact the common man,” it added.

Mr. Baalu also noted that Air India and BSNL were pushed to near bankruptcy due to the advent of private competition.

“When such large public sector companies flounder, the onus is on the government and the tax payers to revive and ensure timely payment of salaries. Indian Railways is the largest employer with over 4.5 lakh employees whose jobs are now at risk with this move. Most private companies are unpredictable in the dealings and do not share their administration intrigues on the public at large. In such a situation it would be challenging to pin the accountability on a particular entity, should there be a discrepancy,” he said.

Privatisation of 151 trains is an add-on burden for the common people, when the entire nation is facing a huge financial stress, as Railways is the only credible and affordable mode of mass transport for poor people of India, Mr. Baalu said. He urged the government to reconsider this decision, considering the lakhs of citizen stakeholders whose lives would be severely impacted by it.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Aug 15, 2020 4:25:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/dmk-opposes-move-to-privatise-railway-operations/article31980245.ece

Next Story