The Centre must take into cognizance the pathetic condition of the Indian Railways as described by Kakodkar high-level railway safety review committee. Committee findings suggest thin edge on which the country’s largest public transportation system is functioning. The security scenario of the Railways is further worsening with the tick of the clock. The committee has brought to the forefront the facts like dilapidated railway tracks, unsafe coaches and decaying over-bridges which not only confirms the grim picture of the railways but also raises question marks over its ability to ensure safety for the passengers. It is still uncertain that the Center will take any immediate measures to check the condition of the Railways from deteriorating further as they are unable to rise above the mentality of working through commissions and Group of Ministers despite knowing the ground realities. There is no surprise that instead of implementing the recommendations of the Kakodkar Committee, the Centre will hand it over to some GoM. In the past, several important matters were simply delayed by involving GoMs. Despite being completely aware on the problems faced by the Indian Railways and repeated appeals from the Railway Minister to de-politicise the railways, the government is treading the path it took to aggravate the matter of Air India.

Actually, the delay in taking important decisions has imbibed in government’s nature. They not only delay the decisions on important matters but also have innumerous excuses to justify the delay. For that matter, the condition of the Railway is deteriorating further because apart from ignoring the means and services, no steps are being taken for the technical upgradation of the railways. Railway is lagging far behind in its efforts on modernization, safety, conservation and even cleanliness. Another problem that grapples it is poor finances, because Railways has become victim of vote-bank politics. One after another the railway ministers used it as a means to achieve their political goals. In Congress led UPA 1 government Lalu Prasad and later in UPA 2 Mamata Banerjee exploited the railways for their benefit. The government may now cite any excuse, but the fact remains that the railways continue to suffer. The general perception is that the condition of the Railways cannot be improved unless Mamata is willing for improvements. Undoubtedly, the mammoth department like Railways cannot ignore its social responsibilities, but in the name of social responsibilities it should not be used for consolidating vote bank or serving political interests and that too by flouting financial rules.