The CPI(M) on Thursday opposed the Railways’ decision to allow private entities in passenger train operations, saying the move undermines the basis of India’s self-reliant economy and should be cancelled.
The Railways on Wednesday formally kickstarted the process to allow private players to operate passenger trains on its network by inviting request for qualifications (RFQ) for participation on 109 pairs of routes through 151 modern trains.
In a statement titled, “Privatisation of Railways would mean self-subservience, not self-reliance”, the CPI(M) said, The private sector utilising the network established over centuries with all the required infrastructure will run passenger trains making super profits.”
The Indian Railways remains as the most important network uniting our country and providing public transportation for crores of our people. The livelihood of crores of our people are dependent on the railways. Such privatisation undermines the basis of India’s self-reliant economy, the Left party said in a statement.
It said that contrary to the claim that the move will boost job generation, past experiences in other countries have shown that such privatisation results in huge job losses and create insecurity among crores of employees.
The Central Government and Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi refuse to learn from international experience of how such privatisation of public transport has imposed unprecedented difficulties and burdens on the people. The Indian Railways is a public service. It is not a profit-generating enterprise. This character cannot be undermined, it said.
The party also criticised the move saying that the RFQ has been floated at a time when it is exposed how globally, as well as in the country, reckless privatisation of health facilities have hampered the fight against the coronavirus.
Health, education, public transport are public services that need to be strengthened and not weakened through privatisation. The Politburo of the CPI(M) calls upon the central government to rescind this decision, it said.
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