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Train derailments: Railway Board chief quits; Prabhu offers to resign

Air India CMD Lohani to take over as the board's chairman

Megha Manchanda & Shine Jacob  |  New Delhi 

Suresh Prabhu,  Ashwani Lohani
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu (left) and newly appointed Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani

Two train derailments in a week prompted Chairman Ashok Mittal to put in his papers and Railway Minister to offer his resignation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who asked him “to wait”.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet on Wednesday approved the appointment of Ashwani Lohani, chairman and managing director of national carrier Air India, for the post of chairman. He is expected to take charge this week. 

Taking full moral responsibility of recent accidents, Prabhu tweeted: “I am extremely pained by the unfortunate accidents, injuries to passengers and loss of precious lives.” He added that the Prime Minister had asked him to wait. Prabhu’s resignation offer comes at a time when reports are rife about an imminent Cabinet reshuffle.

On Wednesday early morning, a dumper hit the locomotive of the Kaifiyat Express, resulting in derailment of coaches near Auraiya in Many passengers received injuries and were shifted to nearby hospitals. travels between Azamgarh and Delhi. 

The collision has impacted train operations on the Delhi-Howrah route.

On August 19, at least 20 passengers were killed and over 100 injured after 14 coaches of the Utkal Express derailed near in UP.

Officials said Lohani had been made chairman after bypassing a rule. A member has to serve as divisional railway manager (DRM) and general manager of a zone for being eligible for the post. 

Lohani, a 1980-batch railway officer, has been DRM in Delhi but has not served as general manager. 

“Since he could not become general manager, he moved to the Madhya Pradesh government,” said an official. 

His name had been in reckoning for some time but Mittal had got an extension as chairman till 2018.

The last Sunday sent on leave its three top officials, including member (engineering) Aditya Mittal, suspended four officers, and transferred one. Besides, Northern Railway general manager and DRM (Delhi) were sent on leave in the wake of a derailment in

Off the track

Nov 2016: The derailment of the Indore-Patna Express near UP’s Kanpur resulted in 150 deaths

Jan 2017: The Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express derailed in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh, killing at least 32 people 

May: 11 coaches of the Mumbai-Lucknow Lokmanya Tilak Express derailed in UP’s Unnao; no report of any casualty

Aug 19: At least 20 passengers were killed and over 100 injured as 14 coaches of the Utkal Express derailed near in UP

Aug 23: The derails after a dumper hits its locomotive near Auraiya in UP; dozens injured

First Published: Thu, August 24 2017. 02:34 IST