Goyal draws 'arrogant' flak from Opposition in LS

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry & Railways Piyush Goyal. (PTI file photo)

Railways Minister, Piyush Goyal, and his deputy, Suresh Angadi, on Wednesday drew flak from the Opposition as well as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party during Question Hour in the Lok Sabha.

Goyal was accused of being “arrogant” and “argumentative” by the opposition MPs, who also criticized Angadi for not being well prepared to reply to the questions asked by them.

Diya Kumari, an MP of the ruling BJP from Rajasthan, too conveyed dissatisfaction, saying that the reply given by Angadi, Minister of State for Railways, to a question about a railway project in her constituency was not “very encouraging”.

Angadi represents Belagavi Parliamentary Constituency in the Lok Sabha, while Goyal is a member of the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra.

The trouble started when Angadi replied to a question by Trinamool Congress MP Pratima Mondal about death of animals after being hit by trains on the tracks running through or near the wildlife habitats across the country. “The desired information regarding number of animals deaths recorded due to train accidents during the last three years and current year covering 16 Zonal Railways is quite spread out and extensive and requires sufficient time for compilation,” the Minister of State for Railways informed the Lok Sabha. He also provided a list of the initiatives taken by the zonal railways in coordination with Ministry of Environment and Forest to curb the death of animals while crossing railway track.

“I have specifically asked with regard to the West Bengal forest areas, I am not satisfied with the answer that you have given,” Mondol said, as Speaker Om Birla allowed her to ask the minister a supplementary question.

Goyal rose to defend Angadi and said that the original question Mondol had asked had no specific reference to animal death in West Bengal. He also pointed out that the Trinamool MP had levelled a very serious allegation against the ministers.

“The country has about railway tracks of total 1.25 lakh kilometer. It is not possible for the ministers to come with the data of the 1.25-lakh-kilometer-long railway tracks and present it here,” said Railways Minister.

“The Honourable Member (Mondol) has a right to ask question related with her constituency. If you (the ministers) are not prepared, you should tell us,” Gourav Gogoi, a Congress MP from Assam, said.

“Why are you so arrogant?” Kalyan Banerjee of Trinamool Congress said, apparently targeting the Railways Minister.

Goyal also came under criticism from Dravida Munnethra Kazhagam MP, T R Baalu, who asked a supplementary question about Avadi-Sriperumbudur-Guduvancheri railway line in Tamil Nadu. “Sir, the Honourable Minister has become very argumentative.… First of all, he should be polite...” Baalu told Speaker. He wondered why the sanctioned project was not being implemented. He said that although the viability of the project was well known, the Railway Board had asked Southern Railway not to proceed with the project. Goyal in his reply appeared to counter Baalu's contention about the viability of the project.

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