Sachin Tendulkar on Sunday asked his first-ever question at the Rajya Sabha in the Parliament house at New Delhi.
Sachin Tendulkar, Mumbai has been the place which saw him grow from a wonder-kid to a cricket Goliath. And when the maestro, who was made a Rajya Sabha member on June 3, 2012, decided to break his long silence in the Parliament, it was the same city that was his subject of interest.
Tendulkar, who retired from international cricket in 2013, hadn’t asked a single question in three years as a Member of Parliament. But on Friday, the legend who has scored most runs in ODIs (18,426) and Tests (15,921), had a written question for the Ministry of Railways.
“Will the Minister of Railways be pleased to state the rationale behind creating a new zone for Kolkata Metro and whether it can be replicated in other cities such as Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi that also have similar suburban rail services; the criteria that a suburban railway system must fulfil to enable it to be notified as a separate zone; and whether the above three cities fulfil that criteria and are eligible for being notified as separate zones?,” was Tendulkar’s query.
However, the Railways ministry replied on the negative to the query of the legend, who also has most number of centuries in ODIs (49) and Tests (51), regarding the Mumbai metro being notified as a ‘separate zone.’
Manoj Sinha, the Minister of State for Railways replied that the Kolkata metro is a one-of-a-kind system of Indian Railways, which operates only metro services.
“After taking this into consideration along with operational, administrative and other factors, the zonal railway status was granted to Metro Railway, Kolkata to, inter-alia, help this organization in its operations and in further expansion,” he wrote in his reply.
“In the Indian Railway system operational in other cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, the suburban railway traffic is run along with the mainline traffic, i.e. unified operation of all types of trains takes place on the same infrastructure viz. track, bridges, signaling, Over Head Equipment , etc. Creation of exclusive zones for suburban systems, operated by Indian Railways, in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai is not envisaged as segregation of suburban, non-suburban, freight traffic, etc. is not possible in these cities.”
Tendulkar was also made a member of the Parliament Committee on Information Technology on September 1. He has also listed another question for Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, which might be answered on Monday, on changes in provisions for issuing of driving licenses.
Earlier, however, Sachin Tendulkar’s low attendance in the Parliament have come under criticism. In 2012, he was offered one of the 12 seats in Rajya Sabha that are reserved for those who have distinguished themselves in various fields such as the arts, sciences or social services.
But despite retiring from cricket two years back, Tendulkar’s off-field activities have kept him away from the Parliament. He not only endorses several top products but is also a member of Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) Advisory Committee.
Tendulkar is also associated with several NGOs and haven’t left cricket altogether. Recently, he played in a three-match T20 series in the United States, which also had several other retired cricket legends. Tendulkar’s scores in the series were 26, 33 and 56 respectively. He is also a ‘mentor’ with Indian Premier League (IPL) side Mumbai Indians.
But now that Tendulkar has made his presence felt in the Rajya Sabha with his first question, it would be interesting to see if he will be seen more often in the corridors of power.Although Sachin is a MP and was nominated as such by the President of India, he does not have any direct relation with any political pary and has also been criticised often for his low parliamentary affairs involvement.