Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Chairman Mittal resign
Aug 24, 2017, 02:19
With heads rolling in the Railways after two train accidents in five days, the government on Wednesday replaced its Board Chairman A.K. Mittal with Air India chief Ashwani Lohani even as Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu offered to quit on moral grounds.
Former Chairman Mittal had tendered his resignation to Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu in the wake of back to back two train derailments in last four days. Mr Prabhu said PM Modi had asked him to "wait".
Lohani's appointment should specially be seen in the context of Prime Minister's Office flagging concerns over slow pace of progress in railways so far and he will now have a task to bring a change in railways.
On Wednesday there was another accident where a truck loader hit the Azamgarh-Delhi Kaifiat Express train on the Kanpur-Etawah section in Uttar Pradesh, injuring as many as 100 passengers, according to agencies. The Utkal Express accident was the result of the train derailing as it sped past a station where the tracks were under fix.
His appointment as CMD Air India in September 2015 had taken many by surprise as his previous appointment as Chief Administrative Officer, IROAF (Indian Railways Organisation for Alternate Fuels) was considered a punishment appointment. "It's not the job of bureaucrats to take moral responsibility".
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- Lohani enjoys registration in Guinness Book of World Records for successfully running the "Fairy Queen Express", the world's oldest working steam locomotive.
Ashwani Lohani is an officer from the 1980 batch of the Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers. Officials say under Mr Lohani, the struggling airline posted an operational profit of Rs 500 crore a year ago and improved its performance.
General Manager, Northern Railway, R.N. Kulshrestha, and Divisional Railway Manager, Delhi, R.N. Singh were also sent on leave.
Senior railway officials said Mital was not happy that senior officials of the ministry had to face the brunt of the fallout of the Utkal Express derailment.
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