Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani today said the railways have the capacity to provide an affordable, convenient and safe mode of commuting, but there is a need to “change the mindset” to realise its full potential.
“We ran the first-ever train in 1853, and in the next 25 years, that is by 1878, all four major cities — Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Madras — were connected by rail network.
“By the time of Independence, we had a rail network of 54,000 km and after that we could add only 12,000 km rail network in the last 70 years, though we did not have much resources and technology at that time,” Lohani said.
He was speaking to journalists at a workshop here.
“In any organisation, changing the mindset and work culture is the most challenging job, and we are doing it,” he said.
The former CMD of Air India also explained why he stopped the practise of presenting of bouquet to senior railway officials and other protocols.
“The idea was not to stop unnecessary expenses, but to change the mindset and to bridge the gap between our own staffers and officials,” he said, adding that he himself is connected with scores of railway workers and officers through WhatsApp, and employees share their personal grievances and problems with him directly.
“I have been getting almost 700 WhatsApp messages everyday. Many share their personal grievances while several seek transfer…others share their suggestions on how trains can be run even more conveniently,” he said.
Officers should think out-of-the-box for better productivity, enhanced earnings and improved infrastructure, Lohani said.
On this occasion, he also unveiled the logo of Kalka-Shimla rail heritage route, conceptualised by the DRM of Ambala division, Dinesh Sharma.
The 96-km-long Kalka–Shimla heritage railway corridor, dating back to British Raj, traverses a mostly mountainous route.
“Our objective is to promote the Kalka-Shimla heritage rail network among tourists from across the globe,” Sharma said.moneycontrol