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Maoist attacks cost Rlys Rs 1,000 cr: Mamata

New Delhi: Maoist attacks have led to 217 disruptions in the movement of trains as a result of which the Railways have suffered a loss of Rs 1,000 crore, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee informed the Rajya Sabha on Friday.

Describing the matter as “sensitive”, she said this has also led to 416 cancellation (of trains) while 70 mail trains have been affected due to 75 bandhs called by Maoists. “I appeal to them that this should not happen,” Mamata said during the Question Hour.

Mamata, however, refused to get provoked when Opposition members asked whether those responsible for Gyaneshwari Express tragedy were present in her Lalgarh rally.

When Balbir Punj (BJP) wanted to know whether the Jnaneshwari Express accident was a case of sabotage, Mamata said, “Let me deal with the issue impartially and not politically. Prima facie the mishap looks like a case of sabotage… bomb blast. The CBI is probing the matter.”

Ganga Charan (BSP) wondered as to why trains were increasingly being attacked by Maoists, “when she holds a soft corner for them”.

Without getting provoked, she said during 2009-10, a total of 100 consequential train accidents took place, 64 persons died and railway property worth Rs 54 crore was lost. Seven of these mishaps were caused by bomb blasts.

“Policing on railways is a state matter and prevention of crime, registration of cases, their investigation and maintenance of law and order is the statutory responsibility of the state police, which they discharge through Government Railway Police (GRP) of the state concerned,” she said.

To a supplementary as to whether senior railway officials have been suspended after rail accidents, she said many Divisional Railway Managers (DRMs) have been either suspended or transferred in the past.

“Whenever there is an offence and somebody is found guilty, action is taken. We have a system of internal inquiry in such matters. However, we need to be more stringent,” she said.

Listing measures to prevent sabotage of trains, she said trains are escorted by RPF and GRP personnel at vulnerable sections.

An integrated security system has been approved to strengthen surveillance mechanism at 202 vulnerable stations, while Railway Board is maintaining close coordination with the Home Ministry, she added.

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