Thursday, December 18, 2014



To
      High Level Railway Restructuring Committee.
      At Bangalore.
Respected Sir,
Since Railway is a technically equipped Transport organisation exchange of officers from other Department ie administrative officers (IAS) to Railways is not correct. Present system of IRS should continue. Also present system of Railway Board is to be continued.

Proposals:
1. SAFETY Departments to bring under CRS - Safety department of the Indian Railways is under the administrative control of divisional, zonal administration and unable to enforce safety norms on day to day train operations independently. So safety department should be brought under the direct control of CRS (Commission of Railway Safety) in divisional and zonal level and under CCRS in Railway Board level to have a independent policing authority on the unsafe train operations if any to ensure safety. The approach of Indian Railway bureaucracy toward safety is not sincere as there is more preaching from safety department and practically very less work on the field.  As the thrust and focus of railway is totally on economy is good but not practical since safety and economy will not go ahead hand in hand.  The investment to achieve safety can come only from an angle of social obligation which can be done only by a government.  It is evident from the experience of British Railways excess accidents after privatization into many private companies on an enquiry by British Railway on private railway companies they admitted that their investment on safety did not give any returns and stopped further investments.  Similar is the case of Indian Railway which orchestrates about safety through slogans and safety posters but does little investment on human resources.  The bureaucracy of Indian Railway secretly believes that running any number of trains unsafely is more profitable since paying compensation to victims of rarely occurring accidents are more economical than investing huge amount on preventing accidents.  Secondly in every accident enquiry the bureaucrats will find a scapegoat from group C or D employees like loco pilot, station master or gang man and remove him from services.  Bureaucrats are never held responsible for not creating a safety work culture non filling up of vacancies, poor maintenance of locomotives and signaling gadgets.  On 23.09.97 the bureaucrats of Indian Railways went on a strike of one day casual leave when the then Railway Minister Sri Ram Vilas Paswan held two GM’s accountable for supervisory lacunae on safety efforts on their part on two major train accidents.
           
2. INCREASING REVENUE AND DECREASING EXPENSE - In 1998 Indian railway had around 8000 officers and in 2012 after 14 years there are around 17000 officers which has increased the salary liability without any additional revenue or jurisdictions.  Indian railway had 52000 Kms route Kms in 1947 and only 11000 increase to 63000 Kms by 2014 does not justify the reason for increase of officers.  Since most Railway Ministers are clamoring for new divisions and zones, 52 divisions and 9 zones has gone up to 64 division and 17 zones increasing the administrative expense of railways without any productivity.  British Government introduced zones and division to de-centralize administration when there was no facility of a STD call, but today with the internet and computer, zones are not required for running of railways.  Trains are basically run by divisions and not zones.  Zones are getting budget allocations and distributing it to divisions, framing subsidy rules and doing overall supervision over divisions which can be nowadays done directly by railway board.  Chinese Railway had done away with zones recently and Indian Railway can also do it if it wants to reduce expense meaningfully.  Budget allocations can be directly given to divisions and remaining question is only about the ladder of promotions to divisional level officers to zonal level.
            If the existing zones cannot be abolished, at least Mumbai and Kolkota which has two zones can be reduced by two from list of zones.  The central railway of Mumbai can be operated as central railway from Jabalpur abolishing existing West Central Railway.  The South Eastern Railway of Kolkota  can be abolished and operated from Bhuvaneswar as South Eastern Railway abolishing existing  East Coast Railway.  The Central  Railway of  Jabalpur can have divisions like Jabalpur, Bhopal, Nagpur, Ratlam and Kota.  South eastern railway can operate from Bhuavaneswar with, Khurda, Waltair, Sambalpur, Chakradharpur and Ranchi Divisions.  Eastern Railway shall be reorganized with Howrah, Malda, Sealdah, Asansol, Adra and Khargapur divisions.  Western Railway shall be re-organised with, Mumbai CST, Mumbai Central, Pune, Bhusaval and Solapur divisions.  Western Railway divisions like Bhavanagar Rajkot Vadodara and Ahamadabad may be joint with NWR of Jaipur with Ajmeer and Jaipur Divisions.  The Jodhpur and Bikaner division of NWR may be added with Northern Railway making NR with total of 7 divisions.  So the existing 16 zones shall come down to 12 zones as NR, NWR, WR, SWR, SR, SCR, CR, ECR SER, NER, ER and NFR.  By shifting CR and SER out of Mumbai and Kolkota the insufficient residential buildings  and commercial buildings will be owned by WR and ER and in a long run of 10 years due to retirement and shifting of CR/SER, the WR and ER will become self sufficient.  Further if there is a will zones with three divisions can be merged with nearby zones to bring down the number of zones from 13 to 9 or 7.  Further the existing strength of excess number of officers shall be brought down to the required level by cutting down unwanted posts freezing further recruitment.  The officers are keeping the sanctioned strength of vital train operating staff like loco pilots, station masters, guards, trackman, carriage and locomotive maintenance staff depressed and not filling up vacancies to balance it with exorbitant officers wage liability forcing the group C & D staff to fend among themselves without getting a weekly rest and leave.
3) CLEANLINESS - Cleanliness of stations and coaches are already leased out to private contractors.   These contractors are employing very poor people for meager wages and they don’t pay them regularly.   Mostly these contract workers abscond when they get a slightly better wage and cleaning work suffers or workers will stop work enmasse when contractor absconds without paying wages. There is no regular cleaning of toilets or wash basins of coaches even at the maintenance points and no officer is also responsible for cleaning not done. Watering of trains are done at junction stations by contractors but for same above reasons watering is also not done in most of the trains and passengers are made to suffer.  Too many beggars in platforms and on trains and stray dogs are also adversely affecting the cleanliness.  Spitting and littering on railway platforms by passengers should be fined by railway authorities.   Railway authorities should ensure that contractors are paying reasonable living wages or hold their payments to ensure cleanliness of coaches and stations through regular attendance of cleaning workers.
4) Delink the Vigilance Department from Railways: Vigilance organization is a major area of management in the Railways. Its role is to ensure that management decisions at all levels are taken in accordance with extant rules and procedures and in an objective and transparent manner.
Railway Vigilance Organization in its present form has largely come about as a result of the recommendations of Railway Corruption Inquiry Committee (1955) under the Chairmanship of late Acharya J.B. Kripalani, Santhanam Committee (1964) and Administrative Reforms Commission (1970) and subsequent reviews from time to time. Presently, Central Vigilance Commission set-up in February, 1964 as a result of Santhanam Committee's recommendation is in-charge of superintendence of Vigilance in all Central Govt. departments. Additional Member (Vigilance) is also the Chief Vigilance Officer of the Ministry of Railways and reports to CVC. The Chairman, Railway Board is the functional Member in-charge of Vigilance.
 Vigilance department unable to perform properly due to top interference.  In the recent RRB Exam Scam at Bangalore busted by CBI, along with DPO/ Bangalore CVO was also involved. Hence we propose to delink the Vigilance Department from Railways and bring them under the control of any Central Bodies like CBI etc
Thanking You                                       Yours Sincerely
                                                                  
Bangalore.                                                                   (A.Jayachandran)
18.12.2014

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