A day after the Railways set in motion the process of bringing in private entities to operate passenger trains on select routes, the Congress and the Left parties on Thursday opposed the move. Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said people will give a befitting reply to the government.
The CPM and CPI said the move will result in huge job losses.
Opposing the government’s move, Rahul tweeted, “Rail is the only lifeline for the poor and the government is snatching that also from them. Take away whatever you can. But remember, the people will give a befitting reply to this.”
Addressing a press conference, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi questioned the government’s “mad rush and hurry” in announcing the decision in the middle of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Are you squandering state largesse and throwing away valuable Indian resources by picking a time of this kind? It is absolutely mind boggling why this time has been chosen,” he said.
Singhvi said Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had asserted in Parliament in March that privatisation will not be done. He said the government should have waited for the Parliament to be convened to discuss the issue before making this move. “Is retrenchment next on the cards… camouflaged retrenchments with tactical names,” he asked.
The CPM reminded the government that the Covid-19 outbreak has shown “how privatisation of health facilities has hampered and adversely affected the combat against the virus”. Health, education and public transport, it said, are public services that need to be strengthened and not weakened through privatisation.
CPI general secretary D Raja said, “The BJP-led Modi government is determined to hand over all the national assets and resources to the private corporates” and “no sector of the economy and industry is spared”.