Railway orders enquiry in rivalry leading to train delays
The Railway Board has asked senior officials of the two zones, Northern Railway (NR) and North Central Railway (NCR), to investigate and find out officers responsible for halting more than half a dozen trains on November 8 at the outer circle of Palwal Railway Station.
HT reported on Sunday that due to rivalry between the two railway zones in order to maintain a better punctuality record, half a dozen express trains were kept waiting for the green signal on the outer circle of Palwal, 85km from New Delhi, on the Nizamuddin-Agra route from 4:15pm to 5: 30pm.
“The minister of Railways, Piyush Goyal, viewed the incident as a serious one and asked for an urgent report,” said a close source in the Railway Board.
Railway sources had informed HT that NR’s Delhi division deliberately halted trains under the NCR zones to dent its punctuality record.
Two organisations — All India Train Controllers’ Associations and Indian Railway Loco Running Men Organisation — confirmed that trains are halted at interchanging points between two zones due to such rivalries.
In another case, a goods train, the SBLT Special - running between Jhansi and Jodhpur — was halted for 11 hours on November 8 from 10.15 on Wednesday night to 9am on Thursday, at Utawar station near Alwar as NWR allegedly refused to enter the train in its zone due to a similar reason.
In 2002, former railway minister Nitish Kumar had increased the number of zones from nine to 16 to strengthen railway operations and administrative control.
“Interchange punctuality is a good initiative towards operational efficiency but the purpose seems partially defeated if ego or inter zone competition become unhealthy and starts affecting overall efficiency, like incidents in Palwal or Utawar,” said Sanjay Pandhi, working president, Indian Railway Loco Running Men Organisation.