Mamata Bannerjee may have big plans for her home state West Bengal, but if her record at the Rail Bhawan is anything to go by, a rise in crime levels should come as no surprise.
The crime rate on Indian Railways has increased steadily and substantially over the last 2.5 years, when Mamata Bannerjee was at the helm of the Ministry of Railways.
From around 5,477 instances of theft in 2009, year in which Mamata was made Rail minister, it went up to 5995 in 2010. Worse, theft cases have already touched 3,500 mark in the first six months of the current year (2011.)
Similarly, chain-snatching cases were at 494 in 2009, went up to 564 in 2010 and in the first half of 2011 alone, added 338 to the tally (686 for the full year if the snatchers keep up the momentum.)
Cases of drugging, in which passengers are given drugs in food and drink by thieves, have risen from 685 in 2009 to 783 in 2010 and 528 in just the first half of this year.
Cases of robbery (meaning theft by force rather than stealth), went up from 198 in 2009 to 302 in 2010. This year, however, it has not seen an increase yet, clocking only 126 cases yet.
The Indian railways are the largest in the World and is a legacy of the British Raj.
From making profits, it nose-dived into losses after Mamata Bannerjee, the feisty leader from West Bengal, took over charge at the Rail Bhawan in 2009.