Sulking minister cares two hoots for train accident victims

Sulking minister cares two hoots for train accident victims

Mukul Roy ignores PM directive to visit mishap sites to monitor relief

Sulking minister cares two hoots for train accident victims

Roy, one of the three Ministers of State in the Ministry of Railways, appeared completely indifferent in the face of two train accidents on Sunday that left over seventy passengers dead and over 200 more injured. He stayed put in Kolkata as injured passengers and their anxious family members and relatives screamed for help from government authorities.

Reports have it that Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal Chief Minister and Roy’s Trinamool Congress boss who headed the railway ministry until mid-May, called up the Minister of State Sunday evening to ask him to take charge of the relief work in connection with the first of the two train accidents—Hawrah-Kalka mail in Malwa.

But Roy wanted the prime minister, who is also currently holding charge of the railway ministry, to instruct him to swing into relief work. “I am over 1,000 km. from the spot (Malwa)….If there is a necessity I will visit….(But) I am the minister of state, not the railway minister. I will go to the spot if the prime minister tells me,” he was quoted as telling journalists in Kolkata on Sunday evening.

But a few hours later, there was a second railway accident caused by an explosion, this time in Assam. Over 100 passengers were injured in the accident. While the prime minister rushed K H Muniyappa, another minister of state in the ministry, to Malwa, Roy was instructed to proceed to Assam to supervise relief work at Kamrup, the site of Guwahati-Puri Express accident in the state.

Roy chose to simply ignore the prime minister’s instruction. “I am not the railway  minister, the prime minister is,” replied Roy in Kolkata when asked if the country deserved a minister who is absent from his job. Further, when journalists asked him about relief works in Kamrup, he said: “The General Manager of the North Eastern Frontier Railway will make all arrangements.”

The prime minister, probably, may be feeling helpless in the wake of such an indifferent attitude by a junior minister like Roy as he belongs to one of the Congress’ coalition partners in his UPA ministry.

Speculations are rife here and in Kolkata that Roy might be displaying an utterly callous and irresponsible attitude for narrow political reasons. He is apparently sulking for a political reason and ignoring his responsibilities even in the hour of crisis.

Roy is said to be sulking because Mamata Banerjee is said to have sounded Dinesh Trivedi, another Minister of State in the Manmohan ministry for elevation to the Cabinet rank to head the railway ministry. Manmohan’s much-talked-about ministry revamp is scheduled for Tuesday.