Tags Posts tagged with "railways"

railways

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The Mumbai’s tragic Elphinestone foot over bridge tragedy that killed 23 commuters and grievously injured 35 is still hunting one and all and fortunately the Indian Railways has finally tightened its belt to ensure that such disasters do not recur in the near future. What’s sad about the whole development is – had the authorities concerned heeded to the repeated complaints of the commuters, this awful tragedy would have been avoided and the precious lives of the people could have been saved.

The moot question is why is it that the authorities wake up only after tragedies occur and subsequent outrage and not before things take such a tragic turn. Indian railways is one of the biggest railway network in the world ferrying several crores passengers to and fro  and carrying lacs of tons of material from Kashmir to Kanya kumari on daily basis with Mumbai suburban trains fecilitating 8 million passengers daily thus being the lifeline of 20 million people.

This is not the first tragedy that has occured in the context of Foot over bridge disaster but in September 1992 too in Jogeshwari footover bridge tragedy several lives were lost but unfortunately governments changed but the railways did not learn any concrete lesson. Thankfully, in these days of excessive media blitz and awareness tragedies are unambiguously coming to the fore with more concern and emphasis, compelling the authorities concerned to gear themselves up and become answerable to the people and the fourth estate of the country.

It’s really shocking and anguishing to note that finally after so much of casualties in the recent train accidents compounded with the Elphinestone tragedy the railway authorities have finally woken up with the rail minister allocating a whopping budget of one thousand crores to be expeditiously spend on the remodelling process of the forty railway yards that also include 8 yards of Mumbai including fitting up of close circuit television cameras. The minister has in order to clear the usual bureaucratic hurdles given discretionery powers to all the general managers to spend as much money they can but the defamed railways should be completely rid of accidents and tragedies.

In the urgently convened meetings with the top officials of the railway board in the pivotal present of the turnaround officer, the most efficient and the capable chairman Ashwani Lohani the minister Piyush Goyal declared that henceforth the government will bring all footover bridges and platforms within a mandatory safety plans with no budget restrictions .

Goyal added that the railways are now turning the hundred and fifty years convention on its head and therefore from now onwards FOB’s would be deemed mandatory not the passenger amneties as used to be earlier. The track record of both Piyush Goyal and Ashwani Lohani have been outstanding as both of them are not only highly energetic and people friendly but belive in cooperative endeavor and team spirit.

Let’s see how expeditiously do both of them come true to peoples’ expectations. In addition to all this the deceased and those injured should also be handsomely compensated financially including a job in railways to the next of the kin.

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SUNIL NEGI

The Indian Railways seems to be definitely passing through the bad luck phase as train derailments and head on collisions have become sort of an order of the day. During the recent past under the tenure of the previous Railway minister Suresh Prabhu, the spate of train accidents have led to his shifting to another ministry despite his decency to offer resignation as once the former prime minister Lal Bahadur shastri did when he was the Railway minister during prime minister Nehru’s era. While the previous minister of Railways and the chairman railways board had to go in view of the accidents and subsequent deaths of good number of commuters the new minister Piyush Goyal and a turnaround bureaucrat with several degrees in mechanical engineering and a limca book record holder Ashwani Lohani has now taken over as chairman Railway Board pledging to set things rights in the near future.

Lots of hope and expect from both these new incumbants and infact they had been trying their best to resurrect the bad railways. But unfortunately the Elphinestone FOB tragedy that killed 22 precious lives and injured several others have once again put the railways on the bad report card of the country. It really sounds ridiculous and rather shameful that on the one hand we boast so much of reaching the twenty first century and bringing extreme high tech Bullet train technology in the country at the whopping cost of 1.10 lakh crores though through the cheapest loan from Japan which is actually, in any case, not the need of the hour, repeated train accidents and tragedies such as that happened in Mumbai due to the century old squeezed FOB built by the Britishers and never ever thought of repairing or building a new one, continue to happen killing hundreds of commuters for no fault of theirs.

Today, the Indian Railway network is the largest in Asia ferrying crores of passengers from Kashmir to Kanyakumari earning handsomely but if we go into the depth of the inadequacies and problems we’ll be shocked to find the mess everywhere despite the fact that the railway employees draw 3 months Deepawali bonus every year and heavy pay packets as salaries and remunerations. Today, the majority of the railway tracts and lines are in extremely bad shape some even of the British era having not been repaired or changed resulting in derailments and subsequent death and collosal loss to the government’s exchequer. The majority of the railway stations lack basic facilities like fresh and quality drinking water. The kitchens are in pathetic state serving unhealthy food stuff but charging fully.

There is complete lack of basic minimum first aid and other forms of medical facilities in the event of medical emergency. The crime and incidents of thefts and deciet by imposters is a regular feature in metropolitan cities’ railway stations and inside train compartments in particular. The tendering and frieght mafia is quite active and corruption is at its peak. The instances of involvement of the former Railway ministers viz Pawan Kumar Bansal and Lalu Prasad Yadav and their near and dear ones are enough to prove home the point that all is not well in the Indian Railways and corruption do play a pivotal role in this largest organisation of Asia.

The recent spate of train disasters and the one that happened in Mumbai claiming 22 innocent lives for no fault of theirs is a stark reminder for the Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal and his new team of dedicated officers including the most outstanding RB chairman Ashwani Lohani to accept the challenge of turning the railways in mess into the most modern, people friendly and hi tech Indian Railways where accidents and tragedies become the things of the past.

Here is the FB post of Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohni for the readers kind perusal:

Hon’ble minister for railways conducted a detailed mtg at mumbai today with the entire railway brass in attendance. Many crucial decisions related to mumbai suburban were taken on the spot and many decisions related to empowerment and process reforms were also taken. One of the finest confidence building measure that I have ever seen. Gives me tremendous confidence and hope that the railways would turn the tide and that too soon. With staff and officers enthused and tremendous stress on probity in public life why would it not?

What do you say friends?

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Will Uttarakhand get another Cabinet berth in the next reshuffle likely to happen in the  first week of September ?
 
The cabinet reshuffle at the centre is on the cards probably likely to happen in the first week of September. While some of the senior ministers like Kalraj Mishra who’ ve crossed 75 may be shown the door and later on elevated as governor, chances of the JD (U) MP, AIADMK and probably Nationalist Congress Party being given state ministership can’t be ruled out.
 
Rumours taking rounds of political corridors say that NCP strongman Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule may perhaps get an opportunity particularly after her fiery speeches in Parliament n the NCPs’ two MLAs voting in favour of BJP in the recently held Gujarat Rajya Sabha election though having been reprimanded by EC and held responsible for arbitrary voting in favor of BJP holding the votes null and void. The chances of the current Railway minister Suresh Prabhu may be shifted to some other important ministry as his resignation in view of the recent spate of train accidents is lying with the prime minister and kept in abeyance till the reshuffle. While number of non performing ministers may be shunted out sources say several new incumbents are likely to be sworn in with adequate representation to the less represented states like Uttarakhand which only has a single state minister in the Union cabinet from Dalit quota namely Ajay Tamta where as senior MPs having represented in Parliament twice have been left out like former CM UK Dr Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank and Bhagat Singh Koshiyari though the latter has crossed 75 thus making the chances of the former brighter in case Uttarakhand is considered in this expansion.
 
However, chances of Maharani Raj L Lakshmi Shah, member of parliament from Tehri Garhwal being a woman also stand bright n cannot be ruled out. It may be recalled that Prime minister Narendra Modi is too impressed by the BJPs landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh n Uttarakhand and may therefore oblige by giving more ministerial berths to the incumbents of these two states. There was a time in the past when Uttarakhand had fantastic representation in the union cabinet from both Kumaon and Garhwal sub divisions but during Modi’s last three year tenure despite BJP winning with more than absolute majority in the previous state election and in parliamentary election as well – Uttarakhand has acknowledged step motherly treatment in terms of representation in the union cabinet with just one state minister and that too after two years of coming to power at the centre to the utter dismay, shock and astonishment of the people of Uttarakhand. This likely  expansion will hold tremendous significance in view of the national elections scheduled in 2019.
 
What do u say friends?
 
Sunil Negi,