Congress, which is an ally of the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, on Monday questioned the recurrence of train accidents and said the railway ministry was not safe in the hands of state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's party.
"Railway Minister Mukul Roy is a total failure. The Railways has come to such a pitiable condition over the years that passenger safety, security, maintenance and upgrading are under question," said Congress leader Adhir Chowdhury.
He was reacting to the death of 35 passengers in a fire that broke out in a Tamil Nadu Express coach near Nellore.
Chowdhury alleged that Roy was never found in his department and instead was "found carrying the Trinamool Congress chief's baggage and files".
He accused Roy of "systematically neglecting" the Railways, leading to the gradual worsening of services, particularly passenger security.
"We hear tall talk and assurances on railway and other projects in West Bengal by the leaders of the ruling party but nothing is being implemented. All major railway projects are pending due to the callous attitude of the railway minister," the Congress leader alleged.
There was an allocation of Rs 1,200 crore in the railway budget but Roy's ministry was able to spend only Rs 400 crore so far, he claimed.
Demanding a White Paper, Chowdhury alleged the West Bengal government and the railway minister have failed to implement projects sanctioned by the Centre and utilise the allocated funds.
He said, "Mamata Banerjee has been giving empty assurances. She is crying hoarse over the non-availability of funds but if there is no fund, how is she announcing projects one after the other?"