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Location: New Delhi, Delhi, India

Friday, September 22, 2006

The great Laloo Railway Myth

Laloo Prasad Yadav with IIM-A studentsAlmost everyone seems to be impressed these days by Laloo Prasad Yadav’s work on Indian Railways. He is not only getting accolades from all over, but this man is also not stopping them from coming in. Wait! Far stopping them from coming in and basking in the glory of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’, he is actually patting himself in the back for what he did to bring around the so-called ‘turnaround’ in Indian Railways.

Last month, I wrote a post on this man on his scheduled lecture in the IIM-A. Well, I have to admit that my post was substandard to say the least because the tone was that of an emotional rant and the language pedestrian. However, the fact remains that I am not convinced at all whenever someone from the Indian intelligentsia say that he did a job that can be described as ‘great’. In my post I wrote;
As the Union Railway Minister, Laloo has managed to do ‘something’, but then it was just by ‘adjusting’ a few things here and there and nothing much.
I stand by what I said. The railways started making an upward turnaround in 2002-2003, before Laloo took office and the golden period for the railways was 1994-96. A few days back Subir Roy wrote an excellent piece in Business Standard to explain why Laloo’s great railway turnaround is half a myth. He talks about the ‘adjustments’ that I said Laloo made in the railways like – increasing the tonnage of the wagons that reflected in higher revenues. Subir thinks that it is Laloo’s best achievement so far. However, I would like to say that the reduction of accident rates was his best achievement. Then, isn’t railway safety a basic expectation for the rail yatri?

Now, Laloo is going for the spectacular. He is now mulling super-fast corridors as Mumbai-Pune and Bangalore-Chennai. This was going to happen! Such antics must be stopped at once. There is no way the focus should be allowed to shift from curing the diseases plaguing the Indian Railways like better provisions in railway platforms, better hygiene inside trains, ticketless travel, thuggery by TTEs, GRP etc, etc. Railway safety even today is far from satisfactory. Railway safety and security must be on the top in Laloo’s list of priorities. Then, the rampant corruption and pilferage that goes on in the transportation of raw materials and minerals like coal. A trip down the Dhanbad-Gaya, Dhanbad-Ranchi line will tell you how big the scandal is.

There are many, many issues. I may write in details with points on where the railways should be focusing in the coming days rather than in the accolades. In any case, no one should be praised for doing 70 percent of his duty.

That’s why he is there for in the first place, isn’t it?


Blogger The Buck Stops Here said...

Agreed, Can I post a link back to this article on my blog ?

5:19 AM  
Blogger Beau Peep said...

You can always link back. You don't have to ask me to link any of my articles in your blog.

Thanks for dropping by and the comment here.

5:52 AM  

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