Two train derailments in a week prompted Railway Board
Chairman Ashok Mittal to put in his papers and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu
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 Railway Board
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 Uttar Pradesh.
Many passengers received injuries and were shifted to nearby hospitals. Kaifiyat Express
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 Muzaffarnagar
Officials said Lohani had been made Railway Board
chairman after bypassing a rule. A Railway Board
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.
last Sunday sent on leave its three top officials, including Railway Board
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 Muzaffarnagar.