This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Was Lalu a Better Railway Minister than Mamata Banerjee?

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Roli Verma:

Railways are very significant for any country, as it forms the backbone of an economy. Our country India is endowed with an extensive rail network of about 65569 kms. However, our railways have a pathetic safety record. It failed to meet targets it had set for itself in its corporate safety plan [2003-2013] revealing low priority given to passenger safety according to the CAG report. We still need to modernize signaling equipment, anti-collision devices, maintain assets and fill-up safety related jobs…

Just a few days back while going through the safety records, a thought came to my mind. Was Laloo Prasad Yadav a better Railway Minister than Mamata Banerjee? Here’s what we think:

Mamata banerjee aka didi:

Our railway minister Mamata banerjee aka Bengal’s didi is facing flak from all sides due the recent spate of accidents. Since her appointment as the railway minister there have been 200 accidents in 14 months. Her negligence is held responsible for the dismal record of accidents.

In November 2009, 6 mishaps occurred followed by 3 mishaps in January 2010 taking away innocent lives. This wasn’t enough, the derailment of Mumbai bound Gyaneshwar express in May killed 150 people and injured several others! It is seen that she gives over importance to West Bengal politics over her ministry of railways.

Adding to the scathing indictment, the latest rail accident at Sainthia, which occurred on 19th July instantly killed 67 people and injured hundreds. At Sainthia, there was a collision between Sealdah bound Uttarbanga express and Uttranchal bound Vanachal express in Bhirbhum district of West Bengal. This has raised serious doubts about Banerjee and her capabilities in providing safety to the railways.

However, she refuses to take any responsibility of the accident at Sainthia on moral grounds. Gone are those days when Lal Bahadur Shastri took moral responsibility of the accident in 1956!! Didi professes CPI’s hand behind these mishaps with an aim to tarnish her image.

Surprisingly, she has not even shown a bit of remorse. After 48 hrs of the Sainthia accident, didi joined a combined rally resuming her usual Bengal politics, leaving the railways behind as if nothing had happened. Rather than taking stock of the situation and functioning of the dept at the right place and right time, she has been pro-active in ‘announcing’ compensation to victims and ‘directing’ senior officials from Delhi to rush to the accident site! This has given enough ammunition to her opponents to question her callous behaviour. Her over indulgence in the Bengal politics — dislodging the left front — is killing railways. She rides two horses and is unable to strike the right balance between the two. No advanced country compromises on safety grounds like this.  Our government is also silent as if nothing has happened.

She had promised to start new trains in her railway budget 2009. Though she has started a few, now she complains that the ‘harmads’ (CPI’s goons ) have conspired to upset her plans and derail her mission of development.

Whatever justification she might give now, it is a well known fact now that mamata tops the list of ‘absentee’ ministers and the rail bhavan has to recognize it.

Lalu Prasad Yadav

Lalu Prasad yadav was the railway minister from 2004 to 2009 in the ruling UPA govt. When he took over the railways when it was in a ‘bankruptcy’ state.

However, he turned this loss making organization into a profit making department by making a total profit of Rs. 25000 crore in 4 years. Therefore, he was responsible for the financial turnaround of the railway department.

He left passenger fares untouched and found several other profitable sources of revenues for railways. With him, the net revenues experienced a robust upward trend. He replaced the plastic cups with kulhads (earthern cups) to generate rural employment and introduced cushion seats in all unreserved compartments.

In June 2004 he boarded the train from the Patna railway station at mid night to inspect the railway problems himself. During his regime, there was a remarkable improvement in railway safety and steep reduction in the number of accidents. The number of accidents came down from 325 in 2004-2005 to 194 in 2007-2009. He was accused of using his position to help his relatives acquire land. Other railway ministers doubt Lalu’s achievements.

Undoubtedly he gave a stellar performance in the span of 5 yrs as a railway minister. Certainly there were problems then and there are problems now, but safety was not compromised.

What do you think? Was Laloo Prasad Yadav a better Railway Minister than Mamata Banerjee? Voice yourself by commenting below or tweet us @YouthKiAwaaz. You can also email us at

You must be to comment.
  1. Atiya

    We can make as much fun of him as we want, But Laloo is Laloo and he was doing a much better job.

  2. saurav

    Contributing to the article, it is surely true that Lalu was a better railway minister than the present railway minister Mamata Banerjee. In the regime of lalu there had been less accidents and a turnaroud in the profits. Getting the underneath facts, iwould like to shed light on this turnaround of profitability. Just before the Lalu’s regime the present chief minister of Bihar, Nitish kumar was the railway minister and it was his vision and policy formulation and strategies which were started. It was only after his end of tenure these strategies and policies started reaping benefits.

  3. rajindian

    one comment in respect to the number of accidents… At lalu’s regime the number of accidents was 194 in 12 months, whereas in Ms. Banerjee’s 14-month long ministry it was 200 in 14 months (stats are taken from the above writing only). I didnot understand which one is worse,..??

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Kaustav Dass

By Vaishnavi Gond

By Akash Dutta

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below