A pressing task is awaiting railway minister Mukul Roy when he arrives in New Delhi on April 9. Roy will have to take a call on the list of pending administrative and policy decisions piled up at Rail Bhawan.
Amid last month’s political developments that culminated with Roy replacing Dinesh Trivedi as the railway minister, critical operational issues of the public transporter had emerged.
For one, the railways have failed to meet the March 31 deadline for flagging off 22 new trains and operating a double-decker train from New Delhi to Jaipur (the proposals were announced in the last year’s budget speech by then railways minister Mamata Banerjee).
A series of meetings are being scheduled next week for the minister with board members and representatives of unions.
Roy is scheduled to take a review meeting on March 9 with senior officials of the RVNL, which is executing works relating to the expansion schemes of the Kolkata Metro.
Meanwhile, the list of pending works has grown. Posts of general managers (GMs) and divisional railway managers (DRMs) are vacant in some zones. The northern zone of the railways — the biggest and most profit-earning zone — does not have a GM and a DRM.
“The review of DRM postings was scheduled in November, but the process has not even begun. Such delays will have a huge impact on the railway’s operational efficiency,” an official said.
Roy also needs to take a call on the future of two important proposals announced in this year’s budget: The plans to set up a high-speed rail authority and a stations development authority. Compensating for the gap of an estimated R6.5 crore in the plan outlay because of the fare rollback is another challenge that the new railway minister will need to address.