Mamata's rail chugs along despite setbacks
Railways suffered several setbacks in 2010 as Maoists targeted passenger trains while the largest PSU behemoth had to cope with issues like RRB question paper leakage, resource constraints and lack of industry support to its infrastructure drive.delhi Updated: Dec 25, 2010 13:07 IST
Railways suffered several setbacks in 2010 as Maoists targeted passenger trains while the largest PSU behemoth had to cope with issues like RRB question paper leakage, resource constraints and lack of industry support to its infrastructure drive.
More than 100 projects of the Indian Railways continued to witness cost overruns to the tune of Rs 55,000 crore besides sustaining delays.
The year began on a sad note when 10 people were killed and 45 injured in three accidents involving five passenger trains in Uttar Pradesh amid dense fog and near zero visibility conditions, exposing Railways lack of preparedness in tackling such mishaps.
While rail security posed a major challenge for Railways in the wake of Maoist threat, it went on an overdrive to strengthen the Railway Protection Force and devise a joint strategy with state governments for providing security to train operations.
Railways received a big jolt in the middle of the year when Maoists allegedly targeted Mumbai-bound Jnaneswari Express in West Midnapore district claiming lives of over 140 passengers. The derailed train was hit by an incoming goods train from the other end.
While Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee saw "political conspiracy" behind the accident, CBI pointed fingers at Maoists.
A stampede at the New Delhi station which claimed two lives also came as another setback to Railways.
As the lead partner of the Commonwealth Games, Railways ran two special trains - Commonwealth Express and Taj Commonwealth Express -- besides committing Rs 100 crore to the Organising Committee of the Games.
Railway players performed well in the Commonwealth as well as in the Asian Games. Buoyed by their performances, Mamata announced cash awards and out of turn promotions for them.
The year saw the announcement of the new catering policy aimed at improving the catering services at trains and stations. Plagued by increasing number of complaints against the food quality, Railways virtually took away the catering responsibility from IRCTC and decided to do it by itself.
The much-touted Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project also progressed at a snail's pace as corruption charges mounted against DFC chief V K Kaul who was ultimately removed from his post after a CVC report indicted him of wrong doings in awarding tenders.
In the Eastern DFC corridor railways is yet to finalise the funds with the World Bank though SAIL has evinced interest in partnering with railways.