PMO upset with Prabhu and Chair Railway Board

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is feeling the heat, and that too from the Prime Minister’s Office. Recently, through an official letter, the PMO voiced its extreme displeasure at the functioning of the railways. this letter — dated January 31 this year — assumes all the more importance in the wake of recent railway accidents which has left over 225 people dead.

The contents of the letter are indeed damning for the railway ministry. Written by Nipendra Mishra, Principal Secretary to the PM to the Railway Board Chairman AK Mittal, it addresses the ministry’s inability to achieve many of the targets that it had set itself over the last two years. Key among them was a promise to achieve “modernisation of facilities in railways” which, as the letter suggests, has not happened so far.

“You are aware of the focus of the government towards development and modernisation of facilities in railways,” Mishra tells Mittal in the letter.

“While reviewing the progress up to 2016, against the target of 1500 km of doubling, only 531 km has been achieved. In electrification, against the target of 2000 RKM, only 1,210 km has been achieved by railways,” it states.

Doubling is laying another set of tracks on the same route. It serves the purpose of easing congestion on those sections which have ample traffic but low availability of tracks.

The PMO’s displeasure with the railways is so high that Mishra also warns Mittal through the letter that the railways needs to “justify higher allocation in the next budget”. In this year’s Rail Budget, the railways had received an impressive Rs 1,31,000 crore from the Finance Ministry. This was much more than what other transport ministries such as road and civil aviation had received.

The year 2016 was one of the worst years for the Railways as far as train accidents went.

Experts say most of the accidents took place on heavily congested routes allegedly due to rail fracture, which happens when the track is overused without proper maintenance. It is for these busy routes that doubling is most important and experts have time and again pointed out the need for more doubling in railways.

So far the Railways Ministry, according to the PMO, has not used its resources well. The letter speaks of the government’s displeasure over the ministry, “crowding its expenditure for the last quarter”.

According to sources, nearly 50 per cent of the planned expenditure by the ministry remains unused in the early quarters and the railways only starts using them by the last quarter. The letter makes it clear that railways should ensure that there is no crowding of expenditure, “as that slows down the pace of implementation in the first quarter of the next annual budget”.

It isn’t just the PMO that is annoyed by what it is sees as a lack of urgency by the Railway Ministry to perform. Sources reveal that even Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has also been asking the ministry to focus on its core work — that of running trains safely and modernising facilities in the railways. more  

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State of affairs of tack maintenance is apathetic. On 25th Feb I was to travel by 22824 BBS Rajdhani exp. Train was not on platform till 4.40 PM with scheduled departure at 5.05 PM. At about 4.45 PM while the train rake was just about 100 yards from platform 11 of NDLS, the diamond point got damaged and the engine stopped. Finally, the train was reversed and could be placed on platform at 5.45 and left at 6.10 PM, more than one hour late. To make things worse, it was 4 hours late at Mughalsarai. Now, if the track at NDLS yard to platform is so poorly maintained, then what for the rest of the network? more  
Please mention name of that particular section , I think the PWI of that section is held responsible. He should not play game with the life and property of the passengers. Govt may take initiative. more  
Dear all, I have been watching with interest the Railways, particularly, the RAIL LINES. Most of these, by plain watching, can be seen out of straightness. At the bends, the bending is non uniform. Supporting soil below the sleepers has already settled, so the line jumps up & down when a train passes on it. Cannot say who is really responsible, but it is poor workmanship. Thanks to the flanged wheels of the trains, the train manages to pass. thanks to the metal toughness of rails, these remain intact after repeated bending load attacks on it. ultimately it develops a crack by fatigue. I request Rail officials to stand by the track, and watch as trains pass. In case we want to rectify the situation, we have to start from basics. Even if it does not increase the train speeds, it will make a safe baseline. We can start building on top of this basic infra structure. more  
Good news from railway. But this price list should be displayed in all the compartment on both side of gates entry point. Because vender do not follow this. They charge Rs. 90/- for lunch/dinner. When they are asked to give complaint book they do not give and passenger pay more amount for this. IT SHOULD BE DISPLAYED IN EACH COMPARTMENT SO THAT VENDER MAY NOT CHARGE MORE PAYMENT. more  
Recently traveled from Jammu to Delhi under normal weather conditions. Train got late by 2.30 hrs. It shows lack of concern on the part of railway officials. Also promises of improvement sound hollow. more  
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