Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kharge takes charge as new Railway Minister

Mamuni Das
Mallikarjun Kharge takes charge as Minister of Railways at Rail Bhavan in the Capital on Wednesday. Photo: Kamal Narang
Mallikarjun Kharge takes charge as Minister of Railways at Rail Bhavan in the Capital on Wednesday. Photo: Kamal Narang
Mallikarjun Kharge, who took charge as the seventh Railway Minister in the UPA-II regime on Wednesday, took a cautious stand and refused to answer any questions before having a detailed discussion with the Railway Board officials.
The swearing-in ceremony took place on Monday.
PTI reports:
Assuming charge as the new Railway Minister, Mallikarjun Kharge said that he would hold a discussion with officials on the issues being faced by the national transporter before deciding on priorities.
“I will discuss the issues and then I will have to decide on priorities,” Kharge said after assuming charge at Rail Bhawan.
Asked about his priorities, he said: “Unless I talk to them (officers) and discuss the issues I will not comment.”
Kharge, an MP from Gulbarga constituency in Karnataka, is the sixth Railway Minister in the last four years. His immediate predecessor Pawan Kumar Bansal had to quit last month in the wake of cash-for-post scam in railways.
Asked about the vacancies in the Railway Board, Kharge said: “All these things are there. I will discuss with them (officers) as to what can be done within a short span of time.”
Though he was given the responsibility of railways day before yesterday, the Karnataka Congress veteran took charge today.
Railways has to show some urgency in short-listing the possible names for the key posts in Railway Board and submit them to the DoPT for consideration.
Currently, Member Staff Mahesh Kumar is behind the bars and under suspension as he is accused of bribing Vijay Singla, nephew of former Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, for a top post in Railways.
Besides, the post of Member Traffic is vacant while Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal and Financial Commissioner Vijaykanth are retiring on June 30.
Besides filling up the vacant posts, he has to decide on the constitution of the long-pending Rail Tariff Authority also.

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