In what was termed as a "record" in Parliament yesterday, nearly 100 members participated in a marathon discussion which ended two minutes short of midnight. The debate was about the Indian Railways and demands for grants for the Railway Ministry.
The Lok Sabha sat till 11:58 pm. "It is for the first time in nearly 18 years that the Lower House (Lok Sabha) sat for this long," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi said after the session concluded.
Nearly 100 members members participated non-stop in the debate which began early on Thursday afternoon and concluded only short of midnight. "It is a record," Mr Joshi said.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal is likely to reply to the debate in the afternoon today, following which the demands for grants for the Railway Ministry will be put to vote.
During the debate, the Opposition accused the Modi government of trying to sell off assets belonging to the Indian Railways, instead of focusing on services. The government however, asserted that the transport behemoth is breaking new ground everyday, especially in areas of infrastructure, safety, and cleanliness.
The Congress, Trinamool Congress and other opposition parties kept alleging that the government is trying to "privatise" the railways, and claimed that the government is "selling dreams" like that of the "bullet train" to the people. The opposition went on to claim that such projects are "not feasible".
Countering the opposition's allegations, BJP lawmaker Sunil Kumar Singh highlighted that the performance of the Indian Railways is significantly better now than what it was under the Congress-led UPA government. He mentioned the work done in the last five years by the BJP-led NDA government and said that the railways has been achieving new milestones on a regular basis.
Highlighting one such achievement, Mr Singh noted that "Railway accidents have reduced by 73 per cent in the five-year period of the Modi government from 2014 to 2019."
The Railway Minister's reply and subsequent vote in the Lok Sabha is scheduled to happen in the second half of today's Lok Sabha session.
(With inputs from PTI)
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