Monday, March 19, 2012

Barrackpore - Dinesh Trivedi forced to resign


Barrackpore or Barrackpur  is the  headquarters of Barrackpore subdivision in North 24 Parganas district in the Indian stateof West Bengal. The town was a military and administrative center under British rule, and was the scene of several acts of rebellion against Britain during the 19th century. The name Barrackpore may have originated from the word the English word barracks as the site of the first cantonment of the British East India Company.   Under the Mughal Empire, Bengal was divided into Circars, or administrative subunits, each of which was ruled over by a Mahal. The name "Barbuckpur", another name for Barrackpore, is associated with a Mahal in the Ain-e-Akbari. From the 17th century, the area was ruled over by a line of Zamindars from the Nona Chandanpukur, Barrackpore.  The first British barrack or cantonment in India was built here in 1772, providing the town with its name.

Two rebellions against British authority took place in Barrackpore in the 19th century. The first of these was in 1824, led by Sepoy Binda Tiwary.  In this rebellion, the 47th Bengal Native Infantry refused to board boats to cross the polluting "dark waters" to Burma in the First Anglo-Burmese War. Consequently, British-manned artillery fired upon and "erased" them.  In 1857, Barrackpore was the scene of an incident that some credit with starting the Indian rebellion of 1857;  Indian soldier, Mangal Pandey, attacked his British commander, and was subsequently court-martialled. His regiment was disbanded, an action which offended a number of sepoys and is considered to have contributed to the anger that fueled the rebellion.

Barrackpore is again in news now.  After a high drama,  Dinesh Trivedi has reportedly  decided to resign as railway minister bringing the curtain down on the five-day drama after he incurred the wrath of Trinamool Congress for hiking passenger fares in the Railway Budget.  He is likely to be replaced by minister of state for shipping Mukul Roy.   Reports state that Trivedi called up Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Sunday evening, barely an hour before she was scheduled to fly to the Capital, and submitted his resignation papers to the PM Manmohan singh.

There are also reports that the discussion on the rail budget stands deferred as Congress leadership had committed to ensure Trivedi’s removal before the commencement of the debate of the rail budget. That is democracy !!  This is believed to be a quid-pro quo that TMC will not back the notice moved by BJP on NCTC.  All would vividly recall that angered  by the rail budget hiking passenger fares, Mamata wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking Trivedi’s removal as Rail Minister and demanded his replacement with another party nominee and Minister of State for Shipping Mukul Roy.

The 61-year-old Trivedi, represents Barrackpore constituency  in the Lok Sabha.   Born in 1950, Trivedi joined the Congress party in the 1980s, but switched over to the Janata Dal in 1990. Later, in 1998 he joined Mamata Banerjee when she started the Trinamool Congress party and became its first general secretary. He was a member of the Upper House in the Indian Parliament from 1990 to 2008 and won from Barrackpore to join the lower house in the Parliament in the recent elections.  In 2011, after Mamata Banerjee quit as the railway minister to become the Chief Minister of West Bengal, he was elevated as the Cabinet Minister for Railways.  As the Railway minister, he has advocated instituting a rail regulator to fix rail fares, and restructuring Railways – policies  that are diametrically opposite to the ones held by earlier railway ministers.

In 2011, the script of the James Bond film Skyfall, part of which was shot on trains in India, had to be changed when Trivedi insisted that people not be shown traveling on the roofs of trains, which is illegal.  The Railway Budget announced on 14th March 2012, where there was  hike in passenger fares, ranging from 2 paise to 30 paise per kilometre for reasons of safety along with network expansion and modernization founded his down fall. The fare hike was opposed by his own party's leader, Mamata Banerjee, who sought the removal of Trivedi. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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