As Indian Railways witnessed two derailments within days, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu took 'full moral responsibily' and offered to resign form his post. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, though, has asked Prabhu to wait.
"I met the Hon'ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking full moral responsibility. Hon’ble PM has asked me to wait,” Prabhu tweeted.
He added that he was "extremely pained by unfortunate accidents, injuries to passengers and loss of precious lives. It has caused me deep anguish.” In a series of tweets today he also said, "In less than three years as Minister, I have devoted my blood and sweat for the betterment of the Railways.” Another post by him said, "Under the leadership of PM Modi, tried 2 overcome decades of neglect thru systemic reforms in all areas leading 2 unprecedented investment& milestones.” He also wrote, "New India envisioned by PM deserves a Rlys which is efficient and modern. I promise that is the path, on which Rlys is progressing now.”
Ashok Mittal, Chairman of the Railway Board, also submitted his resignation to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. Mittal's resignation comes in the wake of a number two rail accidents in just four days.
Meanwhile, Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani was on Wednesday appointed as the chairman of the Railway Board.
Hours after the Kaifiyat Express collided with a dumpster in Uttar Pradesh, injuring 74 people, another train hit a tractor in Villuppuram near Chennai on Wednesday afternoon, media reports said. However, no casualty has been reported so far. These incidents came just five days after a major derailment occured near Khatauli in Uttar Pradesh, killing 22 people.
In response to Prabhu’s offer of resignation, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said "accountability is a good system in the government”. He added that the PM will, however, take the final decision. "Prime Minister will take a decision on whatever request the railway minister has made,” Jaitley told reporters at a press conference.
However, the main opposition Congress accused Prabhu of having "utterly failed” in his job and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to sack him and appoint a "responsible person” in the position. This "responsibility business” would not do, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said while stressing that Prabhu must resign.
"Prabhu should resign immediately if he has iota of morality left in him after today’s incident which has left 74 more people injured. It is worst kind of tokenism asking rail board chairman or any other official to step aside,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters.
Indian Railways has also decided to recruit close to 2,00,000 workers to put safety back on its tracks. The hiring will be made over the next couple of years for workers who will be responsible for patrolling and maintenance of 64,000-km-long network of tracks.