Tuesday, October 19, 2021
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Politicians milking railways for selfish interests

Our Indian Railways is a very huge organization which is being run rather satisfactorily under trying conditions. Politicians have been milking the Railways for pursuing their selfish interests. Many of them have offered freebies to voters in their own constituency and overlooked the finances and efficiency of the Railways. This has been the misfortune of the country. Even if the railway minister hikes rail fares by one rupee he is considered as anti-poor. The workers have organized themselves amicably and they indulge in arm twisting and pressure tactics, the moment they are asked to work additional hours. Labours interests must be protected but they must also perform their work honestly. Whenever theft incidents occur in railway compartments the finger of suspicion is sometimes pointed towards the coach attendants itself.

TTE’s may be educated and honest but they must remain vigilant during night to keep an eye on the people entering and alighting the coach when the train has halted at the station. The coach attendant too should assist him in this task and must not remain busy in distributing blankets, pillows and towels to passengers. He can continue with his routine duties after the train departs from the station. There is a possibility that he might be stealing some valuables from the seat pockets of the upper seats while placing pillows there. Not all, surely, but some of them do raise legitimate suspicion about their activities at the station, especially during night.

A routine check and briefing of the support staff must be undertaken and the TTE’s should be asked to periodically file confidential reports about them. The maintenance of the coaches and the engine, safety audit needs to be intensified with a system of reward and punishment. The issue ultimately boils down to enforcement of discipline and strengthening work culture.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi always addresses the nation through “Mann Ki Baat” but has taken no steps for enforcing discipline and urging the railway employees to develop railways through hard work. Simply sermonizing and theorizing will not work. Modi had attended the pre-wedding ceremony of Samajwadi Partly leader Mulayam Singh Yadav’s grandnephew Tej Pratap Singh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh. He also attended the wedding function at Delhi. Most of us seldom attend both ceremonies unless we are living in the same town but Modi has attended both functions. What was the motive behind it? Was it for promoting good governance or learning work culture from Mulayam Singh and his family? Instead of addressing the nation, Modi should have a meeting with the worker’s unions of the Railways and Seaports to speed up the nation’s development.

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