Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nov 11 2014 : The Times of India (Bangalore)
RAILWAYS - Soft-spoken mantri out, policy guru helms railway machine
New Delhi


Sadananda Gowda was shunted out from railways as the lowprofile minister was too risk averse in signing files and this slowed down decision-making in the national transporter which is facing a severe fund crunch. Gowda could not make an impact on the ministry, letting himself be dominated by the railway bureaucracy and failed to tackle departmental rivalry -seen as one of the main reasons for the crisis in railways.
The change of guard was imminent after the BJP leadership realized that the soft-spoken Gowda would not be able to push radical reforms to bring railways back on track and back Modi's agenda to restructure and reorganize the railway board, especially with the entire railway bureaucracy and unions against the move.
“He is a gentleman, but railways needs a dynamic taskmaster,“ said a source.
Even after approval of FDI in railways infrastructure, the ministry was not able to create a conducive environment and policy framework to attract foreign players.
An official said, “The projects relating to setting up of two locomotive factories at Marhaura and Madhepura in Bihar on PPP mode got struck in the minister's office even after the entire railway board cleared it.“
The Karnataka politician failed to outline his vision on modernizing the railways and could not fasttrack day-to-day decisionmaking.
At a time when the PM showed eagerness to infuse new technology into the railways and overhaul passenger services, Gowda failed to come up with big ideas or innovative plans.Stories of bullet trains captured headlines but since then there has been total silence on the subject.
Meanwhile, Suresh Prabhu, who replaced Gowda as railways minister, outlined his vision after taking charge, saying he was going to act tough with the corrupt and reward those doing good work.

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