Unlike his predecessor,new Railway Minister Mukul Roy wants to take the Railways back to the way the national transporter was run by his party boss,Mamata Banerjee,when she was heading the ministry. According to Roy,those were the golden years.
I consider Mamata Banerjees tenure as the golden years for Railways. I would want to work in the same way, Roy said after taking charge of his office at Rail Bhavan on Wednesday,a day after he was sworn in.
Mamatas trusted lieutenant has already made some changes to the Rail Ministers chamber,similar to the way it was when she was heading it. His predecessor,Dinesh Trivedi,had altered the sitting arrangements completely.
A section of the party suggested that Roy,whose role as a strategist in the party is second only to Mamata,may not find much time to stay in Delhi when Parliament is not in session. Roy,however,has assured that railway welfare would be his main focus.
Meanwhile,a rollback on passenger fares is on the cards. Across party lines,most MPs,who spoke at the debate,called for a rollback.
The TMC,through its deputy leader in the Lok Sabha,Ratna De Nag,demanded a complete rollback of the hike in not just train fares and platform tickets but also other key initiatives meant to modernise the railways. The mood in the party is clear: roll back all proposals that bear the imprint of the ousted minister.
On Wednesday,Roy summoned heads of the five federations of railway unions that had been demanding an increase in fares. Sources said though the unions stuck to their demand,understanding the political compulsions,they have requested Roy to not include the sleeper class in the event of a rollback.