The Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Delhi division, Pradip Kumar, and several other top departmental heads have been transferred with immediate effect following a surprise inspection of New Delhi railway station earlier this week by Minister incharge Lalu Yadav who was appalled at the general conditions and state of passenger amenities there.
According to a senior official in the Railway Ministry, during his visit on Friday, Lalu was disappointed at not finding any improvement in the general sanitation and other conditions at the station as per the directions issued by him after his last inspection six months ago.
The furious minister ordered that all senior officials who were incharge of passenger amenities at the station should be removed for their failure to carry out his instructions. Among those who have been transferred out along with the DRM are the senior divisional engineer (civil), senior divisional engineer (electrical), divisional medical officer and the senior divisional commercial manager.
"The officials had been put on notice after his last visit and given six months to perform and show results. He checked this time and found that many of his instructions had not been carried out. No such improvements were found which indicate that it is the main railway station of the country's Capital," the official stated.
He observed that the railway stations at Bangalore, Lucknow, Varanasi, Patna and Chhapra had all shown "visible improvements" and Lalu was quite pleased to see their progress.
The general managers of all zonal railways and the DRMs had been told by the Railway Ministry earlier that no expenditure should be spared in giving a facelift to the prominent stations and upgrading the facilities for passengers. The general managers have been given the powers to spend upto Rs 250 crore for the purpose, as against Rs 20 crore earlier.
The message that is sought to be sent out to all railways personnel is that the passenger amenities, the public face of the mammoth organisation, must now become top priority for Indian Railways.
"A second chapter in Railways' turnaround is now beginning. The turnaround achieved in its finances must now be brought in the area of consumer amenities too," the ministry official said.
The Railway Board has now been directed by the minister to chalk out a plan to finish the multiplicity of control at the railway stations and designate a single official who will be responsible for all matters related to a particular station and another one for each train who can be held accountable for any lapses, it was stated.