The CPI has opposed government’s intent to privatise the railways, saying the life-line of the country can no way be treated merely as a commercial enterprise.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, CPI leader D Raja expressed shock and anxiety over the recent “actions and announcement” made by the Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on privatisation of railways and told the government not to take any “hasty decision or allow experimenting or tinkering with the age-old railways”.
“Many countries have tried to make railways, their primary transport organ a privatised operation. It has never worked,” he said while giving the example of Britain where he said the “government is trying to re-nationalise railways”.
Terming privatisation as “inaction in action”, Raja reminded the Prime Minister that “there is no corporate body in the world which is running such a massive institution”.
“Many countries have tried to make railways, their primary transport organ, a privatised operation. It has never worked. Britain has privatised railways during the regime of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Now we increasingly hear voices that the British railways will be fully or partly re- nationalised or parts of it brought under government control”, the CPI National Secretary said.
He said “our neighbor China is investing great amounts in its railways. There is economic sense to it. China is tying up with Nepal and other countries to link railways. India is being left out.
“If government goes headlong on privatisation, then surely we will be cutting back on the entire development and safety of India.”
Regarding government’s decision to merge the railway budget with the general budget, Raja expressed unhappiness and said though the move was supposed to bring great changes, “no gains have been seen”.
He said the responsibility of running the railways efficiently, lay on the Railway minister and the government and the railway family can never be blamed for any failure.
Raja also drew the attention of Prime Minister on the issue of national security, saying it would be a difficult task for the government to chalk out a strategy with a privatised railways if it wanted to buttress defence on the borders.