NEW DELHI: Indian Railways has suffered a serious dent in the recent past due to certain unfortunate incidents and railwaymen across the country should be on guard to ensure the highest level of safety in train operations to instil a renewed sense of confidence in railway passengers, said newly appointed Chairman Railway Board Ashwani Lohani.
Emphasizing that safety should always remain principle focused area, Lohani in a passionate letter to 13 lakh railway employees said: “Indian Railways has suffered a serious dent in the recent past due to certain unfortunate incidents. Such incidents often overshadow the great work that this organization performs day in and day out.”
“Let us, therefore, resolve to bring about an all-round improvement in the working of the railways so that we are able to satisfactorily meet the hopes, expectations and aspirations of the vast multitude,” he said.
Four derailments have been reported in last 10 days. Utkal Express derailed on August 19, killing 23 people and railways have accepted that the accidents happened because of the negligence of its employees. Following the accident, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu offered to resign while A K Mital, former Chairman Railway Board, quit.
In an unprecedented move, Ministry of Railways sent on leave topmost railway officials including Member Engineering. Four other senior engineering department officials were suspended based on prima facie evidence.
Lohani, who took over Railway Board head in the backdrop of all this, said: “At this critical juncture when we are facing a serious issue with the image perception of the railways, I expect all my fellow Railwaymen to pitch in wholeheartedly to set this perception right. I am sure, with your cooperation, we will be able to achieve and re-establish the pristine glory of the brand Indian Railways.”
The Chairman Railway Board also expressed concerns over railways increasing operating ratio and also suggested series of austerity measure to be followed.
“Our Operating Ratio needs to be brought down considerably, not only by reducing expenditure but by increasing freight loading and also finding other means of non-conventional revenue generation to achieve a spurt in revenues. At the same time, we also have to deal with the evils of corruption, sexual harassment at work places and alcohol abuse while on duty. These are social evils and need to be dealt firmly with an iron hand,” he said.
Asking employees to avoid any frills in the form of bouquets, gifts, lavish celebrations, excessive protocol, Lohani said that such things divert attention from primary responsibilities, hard core work and severely damage the organization also.
“Our focus needs to be on deliverance and deliverance alone. We also have to reform our processes, many of which have, with the passage of time, become so complicated that they seriously hamper work. That remaining busy is not deliverance is a thought that also needs to be imbibed,” he added.