Mumbai: Around 5 Garib Rath trains threatened to go on strike and few more expected to join after a proposal by the trains for a name change got lukewarm response from the Railway Ministry.
Sources say that the trains had sent the proposal a few months back hoping that the Railway Minister will make some favorable announcement related to name change in the Railway Budget, but no such announcement was made which is why the trains were forced to express their resentment.
The Garib Rath’s are unhappy with their names and want the Railway Minsitry to give them fancy names like Gatimaan and Jaldoot.
Our reporter visited Lokmanta Tilak Terminus in Mumbai where LTT Garib Rath and KCVL Garib Rath were sitting on a dharna in the yard. Speaking to our reporter LTT Garib Rath said, “Railway Ministry has been discriminating against us for long now. These trains which were launched recently are given such fancy names and we have to live with the ‘Garib’ tag. Everybody knows what the Garib of this country is treated like. We are treated no different. Other trains look down on us. Even the person manning the signal lets other trains pass while we are kept waiting just because we are Garib.”
“We will no longer tolerate this discrimination. If you are born Garib it’s not your fault, but if you die Garib it’s your fault,” said the train while quoting Bill Gates.
With many trains planning to join the agitation, sources say that the protest may snowball into a major issue. “We dont know in which direction this may go. I mean if the trains decide to do a rail roko, it may be a big headache for the Ministry,” said a source.
Though most Garib Raths were in favour of of peaceful protest, they didn’t rule out the possibility of a ‘violent agitation’. “We can’t help it. It seems like the only way to make the Govt. sit up, take notice and accept our demands is through violent protests. Even the media has been ignoring us. Maybe if we refuse to say ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ it may get us some prime time coverage,” said another train.
The media may have missed this train but political parties are already on it. Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi visited the agitating trains at Mumbai’s Matunga train shed.
“Maine pehle bhi kaha tha. Yeh gareebon ki sarkaar nahi hai. Modiji ko Garib Rath nahi dikhte. Unhe toh sirf plane dikhte hai. Jaha jaate hai, plane se jaate hai. Bullet train ki baat karte hai, par Garib Rath ka kya hoga,” he thundered.
Railway Ministry has not issued any official statement but sources reveal that Mr. Suresh Prabhu is mulling a name change before a controversy erupts. “There was a high level meeting of Ministry officials a few days back and they were considering renaming Garib Rath to Aam Aadmi Rath. Some said adding a few letters and renaming it to Garrib Rrath will help the ministry tide over the issue,” said a ministry official.
Meanwhile, a news channel was seen criticizing the Railway Ministry for neglecting the trains and also asked viewers to help their cause by trending #JusticeForGaribRath on twitter.