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Congress Slams Govt Over CBI Probe Into Balasore Rail Accident

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NEW DELHI, June 6 (PTI): The Congress on Tuesday slammed the government over the CBI probe into the Odisha railway tragedy, and termed the move as headlines management to divert attention from its own “failures”.

The CBI has taken over investigation into the Balasore train accident and filed an FIR.

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At a press conference, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said it has been over 96 hours since the accident took place but no accountability has been fixed.

“How is it that there is no accountability, no responsibility. Instead of finding out what caused this grave accident in which almost 300 people died, the government is now spinning conspiracy theories. It is shifting focus from safety to all kinds of conspiracy theories like deliberate interference,” she told reporters.

At a time when the railway minister should resign by taking moral responsibility, new theories are being created to “divert” attention. There is not even an ‘A’ of accountability of this government, she asserted.

The Congress spokesperson claimed that the Odisha train occurred due to interlocking and signal failure and also due to low track maintenance but the government is trying to divert attention.

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The June 2 train crash in Odisha involving two passenger trains and a goods train killed 275 people and injured more than 1,100.

Shrinate said the government had roped in the NIA to probe the 2016 Kanpur train accident as well but not a single proof was found by it. The NIA has also not been able to file the charge sheet in the train accident in Kuneru in Andhra Pradesh in which almost 40 people died, she said.

“The very basic question is why should premium agencies like the CBI and NIA be roped into this because this is not their area of expertise. Why should the CRS not probe this accident. Why is the CRS being restricted to probe only 8-10 percent rail accidents that have happened,” she asked.

“The Modi government is once again shifting the focus from its own failures, from failures of the Indian Railways, from its own government which has refused to prioritise safety of citizens and has instead roped in agencies like the CBI,” the Congress leader said.

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Earlier in a tweet, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, “Even before the Commissioner of Railway Safety has submitted his report on the Balasore train disaster, a CBI inquiry is announced.”

“This is nothing but headlines management having failed to meet deadlines,” he said.

Ramesh also raised the issue of the 2016 Kanpur rail accident in which 150 lives were lost, and noted that the NIA is yet to come out with its report.

“Ab yeh Chronology yaad kijiye – 1. Nov 20, 2016:  Indore-Patna Express derails near Kanpur. Over 150 people lose their lives. 2. Jan 23, 2017: Then Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu writes to Union Home Minister asking for NIA probe into this accident.

“3. Feb 24, 2017: PM says Kanpur train accident is a conspiracy. 4. Oct 21, 2018: Newspapers report NIA will not file any chargesheet in the derailment. 5: June 6, 2023: Still no official news on NIA final report on Kanpur derailment. Zero accountability!” Ramesh said.

Shrinate also said that when the Prime Minister or the Railway Minister visits the spot, “a farce is created, as if God has appeared”.

“Whenever the government is put in the dock, only attention is diverted,” she charged.

“Will the CBI find out why the budget for track repair and laying of new tracks which was 9,607 crores in 2018-19 reduced to 7,417 crores in 2019-20? Will the CBI find out why only one zone was allowed to speak in the Rail Chintan Shivir when every zone was supposed to speak on security and why the focus in this camp was on Vande Bharat,” she asked.

Will the CBI find out why the CAG report mentions that nearly seven out of 10 accidents between 2017-21 were due to train derailments, or why the East Coast Railway track maintenance for safety was not done, she asked.

The Congress leader also asked whether the CBI will find out why three lakh positions in Railways are vacant or why loco drivers are being made to work within 12 hours and will CBI find out why has track maintenance fund being cut by 23 percent.

“Will CBI find out all these things. These are questions that an elected government of the day needs to answer.”

“Will the CBI find out why the funding of the National Rail Safety Fund has been reduced by 79 percent? Will the CBI find out why the annual budget of Rs 20,000 crore was not allocated to the National Rail Safety Fund, as promised,” she said.

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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